2007-03-25: Meet the Oscillating Unit

Starring:

Desiree_icon.gif Ed_icon.gif Mara_icon.gif Matt_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: There's no such thing as a coincidence anymore.

Date It Happened: March 25, 2007

Meet the Oscillating Unit


Mount Sinai Hospital

This time, the youngest Petrelli visited without his brother. Which takes half the fun out of playing Monopoly, but at least there won't be the awkward glances… or at least not as much. Greetings exchanged, news about the weather, and questions on if she'd be starting physical therapy soon, or not, and then… time to set up the board. This time, Peter allows her to have the dog, choosing to take up the shoe instead. A few times around the starting square, many properties bought up, much money exchanging hands. "You're a lot better at this than Nathan is," he says, glancing at her pile of money, and then his own. He even let her be the banker.

Mara smirks across the board at Peter. "We bled him dry easily last time. Did you really think it was /all/ because he's piss poor at this?" The Psychometer rolls her dice and moves the alloted number of spaces. "Oh, bollocks!" Park Place, and Peter owns it.

Walking down the hall toward Mara's room, with absolutely no intent to visit because she has no idea who the woman is, is Desiree Russo. Her heavy high-heeled boots clomp along the tile - as if she needs them, being as she's 5'10" /without/ their help. She's wearing a fairly elegant dress today, patterned with black-and-white stylized flowers, with faux pearls and nice dabbling of make-up. She has some sort of leather-bound portfolio under one arm, and carries a folded winter jacket made of soft green fabric draped over said arm. Casually looking around as she makes her way out of this particular wing, her steps unwittingly slow down — notably after she passes the room with Monopoly players. She backs up. She stops. She stares.

"It's hard to tell when you're playing against someone who's as bad as Nathan," Peter adds, watching her move onto his property, for which he holds out a hand and graciously accepts the rent. Hopefully with no impending coma of doom and vision of children playing Monopoly. And no, she wasn't given her gin bottle back. He's still keeping it. As long as that morphine is dripping. "You're also a better sport. Nathan hates losing. At anything." Someone outside in the hallway staring in? He doesn't notice, as he leans over and picks up the dice, giving them a roll. Which ends in a tsk as he lands on Income Tax, and is forced to pay up. Which of course he's going to choose the $200, as opposed to 10% of his holdings. Which would be a good deal more than $200.

"I got that impression from him," Mara muses. She takes the money for the income taxes and puts them in the bank. "He's-" She pauses and looks toward the door. She could have sworn she heard footsteps and then… they just stopped. Call her paranoid, but she has to look. The woman in the doorway is blinked at. "Can I… help you?"

Desiree's eyes squint ever-so-slightly, but she's not looking at Mara or Peter; rather, some indeterminate point between them. It takes her a few seconds to respond to the bedridden woman's questioning. "What?" She looks at Mara dumbfoundedly despite the simple question. "Oh, no, sorry. I just thought I saw…" she quietly, apologetically, /very distractedly/ intones, trailing off, her Southern accent becoming obvious, "…nothin'. Nothin'." Then why is she still staring? "It's just, um." She waltzes straight into the room and looms over their Monopoly game, flashing them a thin, hopeful smile. Pleeeease ignore the crazy? "Can I borrow y'alls paper money for like two seconds?"

Confused glances to the bedridden detective aside, Peter doesn't seem too disturbed by the person suddenly walking into the room. Could be lost, could be looking for someone— could be walking in and looming over their game asking for money. And… oh hey, she's tall. Even standing up, he'd be looking up at this woman, and sitting down, even more so. For some reason, though, as she asks to borrow paper money, he looks confused again, "What— uh— sure?" While the former nurse has got an idea of how much he has, having stacked the money neatly and counted the piles every time he spends something. But he's rather reckless still in picking up a stack of $20s and handing them over. Nathan would have been leaning over his paper money protectively right about now.

Mara gives Peter a look. Why do I attract the crazies? Is it you? Is it me? She makes a quick count of her cash and then holds it out. "Ah'm Mara. What's yer name?" She actually winces when she catches the carefully buried southern accent emerging in the presence of a kindred spirit.

The stranger in the room broadens her ever-so-slightly manic smile when her bizarre request is indulged. She takes the play money from Peter, then, with some shuffling about of her things under her arm, Mara's - and to her credit, does not run off with them and spoil their Monopoly game. That makes her trustworthy! Right? "Desiree," she answers. "So uhm, thanks. I just— are these new?" She waves the $20s in the air. They flop about. "They've— they've got pretty colours." She's trying to make up excuses and it is not working. At all. Oh well. "I don't mean to interrupt your game! Just, just excuse me for…" She turns and spreads the bills out on Mara's bedside table, separate, but fanned out, and gently adjusts them with hot pink fingernails.

"I'm Peter," the youngest in the room speaks up, the women having made their introductions first. Rather comfortable in his chair, he shakes his head a bit in response to her question, "They're not new. I've had the board a few years." Though he guesses they still maintained their colors? Glancing towards Mara, he's confused, but willing to play along with the woman for now. Playing with paper money could hardly be considered harmful. And she's smiling.

Mara watches Desiree, then looks at Peter. What is she doing? She turns her attention back to the money. "I… Desiree." She smiles a quirky little smile, "What are ya doin'?"

Smiling? No, not anymore. The hint of a smile on Desiree's face has gone completely extinct. She doesn't answer Mara; she's focused wholly on what she's doing. She spreads the thin pieces of coloured paper into a circle, blending Mara and Peter's money together, creating an overlapping wheel. As she carefully arranges the shape she's made, she gently pushes the objects on Mara's bedside table off to the side, out of the way. Her long fingers start to tremble until she draws her hand away swiftly, sending Monopoly money fluttering onto the floor. Looking decidedly spooked, and paler than she was a minute ago, Desiree starts backing away. Hazel eyes fall on Mara's own hazel eyes— and she stares. "Clock's ticking."

The disappearing smile bothers him, and Peter casts an additional glance towards Mara, confused, and now turning towards worried. Maybe he should have her signal for the nurses? He's actually considering this possibility when the woman is spooked and sends some of the Monopoly money towards the floor. Moving to get out of his chair, to assist with the picking up, he's actually squatting down when she says those words. To Mara. Straightening, with a hand full of money, he looks at her, "What did you say?" Considering how much he's seen… really tall woman spouting craziness seems… a lot less crazy and more worrisome. Very worrisome.

Mara goes very pale when Desiree speaks. "…Peter?" She reaches out for the younger Petrelli, without looking. "Peter… I think I'm gonna-" She doesn't even know what she's going to do. She doesn't have a clue. She'd like to faint. She'd like to cry. She'd like to throw up, maybe? "Clock's… ticking. What are you-" Coincidences. They really don't exist anymore. They really, really don't.

Desiree's hands won't stop shaking; she folds her arms tightly, uncomfortably, tucking her fingers against her sides. Her backing away hasn't gotten her far, as she bumps into the chair Peter abandoned. She's still staring at the array of paper money. Such a silly thing to prompt such foreboding, but there it is. She can't pick and choose. "I dunno what it means," she offers with a touch of defensiveness - and apology. "Mara, right?" she moistens her lips and worries at the bottom one with a front tooth, marring her nice lipstick. "Do you got a grandfather clock in your house?"

As the woman reaches out and says his name, Peter's hands go to hers, bunching up some of the paper money that'd fallen to the floor with the shock. He'd cleaned up some of it, but not nearly all. There's definitely something wrong. Clocks can mean many things, really, but— this doesn't seem to be edging towards the Grandfather Clock territory. At all. Keeping his hands on the woman in the bed's, he watches the seemingly crazy woman and asks rather plainly, "Does this happen often? Did you— see something?" Too many psychics in the room… Too many. Though his attempts to paint or draw haven't panned out, lately. And the few 'visions' he's gotten involve… the woman right here in the bed.

Ring-ring-ring-ring-ring bana-…well, just ringing. It's Mara's bedside phone, to be exact. Since cell phones generally aren't allowed in hospitals, Matthew Parkman has called the hospital itself to try and get a hold of his fellow detective. Little does Mara know that the other officer is already riding the elevator to her floor.

"A… Grandfather clock." Mara's eyes get wide and absolutely /terrified/. "What did you see?" She doesn't question it. It's just a matter of /fact/. This Desiree sees things. She just does. Okay? Okay. "What did you see?" she repeats. "Tell me. Tell me everything." Peter's hands are clutched tightly. Mara just about jumps out of her skin when the phone on the table starts ringing. She disengages one hand from Peter's to lean over and pick up the receiver and bring it to her ear. "D- D- Damaris," she stammers.

Desiree visibly jumps when the phone rings. She looks from Mara to Peter and back again. "I couldn't— couldn't make it all out," she answers in that same apologetic drawl, her voice low, as to not interrupt the phone call. "I see these images in things, I know it sounds crazy but— y'all believe me?" There's a brief pause, hesitation, and then: "Sometimes it's like… abstract, pictures all fractured. And I'm not real sure what's happenin', but I think I saw you," she explains slowly, nodding at Mara. Her dark brows are knit together tightly. "I know 'cause of your eyes. You had real pretty eyes."

With just the one hand, Peter's able to set aside the crumpled paper money slips that he'd picked up off the floor. The same slips that this woman saw something in. "Yeah, we believe you…" he nods, looking towards the phone, and then back at the taller, and older, woman. It sounds similar to something he can do, even if he hasn't been able to get it to work just yet. Maybe it's just not the right time, or something. Speaking of time… "What did you see about a clock, though?"

"Damaris," the voice on the other end of the phone echoes. But it's Parkman's voice, and he doesn't sound happy at all. "It's Parkman. He took Mohinder and Molly. I'm coming up." The phone clicks off then, shortly after an angry shout from a nurse.

"Had…" Mara blinks at Desiree, then looks at Peter. "She said 'had'. Peter!" Panic. That is /definitely/ panic. "Parkman!" she cries in relief. But his words kill that emotion real quick. And then he's hung up. "Peter!" She slams the receiver down and grabs his other hand again. "He's got- He-" Finally, Mara starts to sob. "What do you mean /HAD/?!" She stares at Desiree through the tears streaming down her face.

It's surprising to Desiree that people have been this accepting of her seemingly off-the-wall babblings, and it shows. "I— there was a clock. Big, old, grandfather clock, my daddy used to have one. I saw Mara here and then the clock, it— there was a lotta— " Desiree blinks and looks, quite frankly, horrified as Mara starts to panic. "Oh, darlin', I didn't mean— " Or did she? The confusion twisting her features says she's not even sure herself as she rushes to the woman's bedside, her caring, maternal nature kicking in. She moves to grasp the stranger's arm with her warm, shaking hands. "You know what I've been learnin'? Future ain't written in stone. Mm'kay? I saw to that just the other day."

"Mara, calm down," Peter says, looking at the phone, Parkman?, then the woman who's sprouting off the future in past tense. The comment about the future not being written in stone… Reaching to touch the crying woman's face with his free hand, he pushes at her hair, "She's right. No matter what she saw— it's not written in stone. It can be changed, okay? Listen to me on this. You wouldn't be here right now already if things couldn't change, okay?" She would have been wiped out with half of Manhattan, most likely. "Look at me, Mara. Just calm down, okay?" And then he looks towards Desiree, "Anything else? Anything at all?" The more information, the better.

The sight of Damaris being fawned over by a strange woman and Peter Petrelli would normally shock Parkman, but not today. He's about shocked out. "Damaris," he announces as he walks through the door, his breath ragged - and it's not from exercise.

Ed follows a few paces after Parkman, dressed in his familiar black and white suit. He doesn't look surprised — but he does look at Peter Petrelli.

. o O (That guy looks kind of familiar. Weird. Maybe I saw him last time I was—right! Last time I was here. D'uh.)

"Detective," he repeats, immediately after Parkman says so.

"The grandfather clock… It's at the foot of my bed." Mara stares ahead numbly at nothing, clutching Peter's hand so tightly her knuckles turn white. "You saw… He kills me, doesn't he?" Her eyes focus again to peer at Desiree, leaning into Peter's touch unconsciously. Though she doesn't audibly sob, the tears just don't stop. "Do I scream?" Please. Please. Please say I never give him that satisfaction. Wide and fearful eyes fix on her fellow detective. "Parkman. What-" Then the man that enters after really causes the woman to look ill. "Ed." Mara fixes her eyes on Parkman again. Company. Matt, he's with the Company.

Desiree looks at the crying woman and at Peter, hesitates, and shakes her head with a slow sway of her dark mess of curls — but her mind is thinking about the colour 'red', saying it over and over. She grips Mara's arm a little tighter, even though her own hands are still trembling. "I can't tell ya, miss Mara. Sometimes I get sounds and sometimes I don't, all I could hear was…" With surprise, her head spins to look at the newcomers, and she lowers her voice to Mara, "… the clock. Who— who are y'all talkin' about? He who?"

"A clock…" Peter repeats, not fully understanding this, but it's already making him border towards furious. The poor detective's crying, but he does know why she asked that, and he doesn't stop giving her the mother hen treatment, touching her cheek and rubbing at the tears with his thumbs. "It'll be okay, Mara— we'll figure this out." Can he? Can he figure this out? Man, this keeps up the nurses are going to kill them. A patient shouldn't be put through all of this. If he'd been assigned to this woman he'd be kicking everyone out right now… He glances towards Parkman, and that FBI agent who flashed his badge the first time he'd been here— which incidentally also was the last time he'd seen Parkman. This better be important. "Desiree…" He'd love to ask for more details, but— so many people here. Parkman would understand, but the Agent, he's not so sure.

"It doesn't matter, Damaris," Matt sighs as he stalks into the room and effectively collapses into one of the visitor chairs. It gives him a chance to glance at Ed, but he doesn't pay the apparent Company Man any heed. "They already know. I spoke to Bishop this morning." That's right, Ed. /Bishop./ "At this point…we couldn't tail him. He could be anywhere. And with Molly /and/ Mohinder, he could… he could be right as fucking rain, if you get the picture." Matt rubs a hand firmly across his face, as if trying to wipe away his own thoughts along with everyone else's. There's too many people here, but Matt is past the point of caring. "We need all the firepower we can get." Matt looks at Peter then, his eyes glazed with a tiredness that comes from being up for too many consecutive hours. But he doesn't speak. Those eyes narrow, and Matt projects a thought into the nurse's head: (Sylar took Mohinder and Molly last night. Can you get a hold of Hiro?) There. Mohinder's request is carried out. Matt relaxes back into the chair, and in his exhaustion, the volume knob creeps toward the the 'louder' side of things. Even his subconscious is tired.

Ed doesn't take his coat off but he does unbutton his blazer, pushing it to the side as he's blindsided with crazy babble. He sort of looks from side to side at the very serious discussion that's going on. "What the hell are you people talking about? Parkman! Have you been holding out on me? Do you have a lead on Sylar's whereabouts?" It seems like the most likely solution. "What the hell is going on here? Dr. Suresh and your kid? Who the hell is Bishop?"

. o O (He didn't report this? He didn't call it in? What the hell? I'm tired of playing this stupid game. This asshole could be up for charges for this. Who the hell is Bishop?)

'Wait, what?', the external narrator might said.

This would be so much more impressive if she could just… climb to her feet and stride across the room. "I know who you are, Edward Boone. I know who Eden McCain was. The /bitch/ who got aw-" She catches herself, sagging heavily against Peter. Those were his thoughts. His words. "Somebody help me." She swallows down the panic. The vomit. Her eyes snap open and she looks at Matt. No need to verbalize. He's Company. They erase his memory so he can lie. I know it. It has to be.

"I know tellin' you to calm down ain't gonna help much, but— but guy's right, we'll figure this out, it'll be okay," Desiree tells Mara in her most soothing of voices, which at the moment is tinged with panic of her own. Her disturbing message delivered, the unexpected psychic is starting to look a little panicked herself. While she normally has no problem being in a room with strangers and making friends with all of them, everyone is so … /dire/. But as far as she's concerned, she's involved somehow. Is this why she had to come back to New York? She stares at Matt, Ed, Peter, and Mara, taking it all in. She's the odd woman out and even more lost than Ed. "Sweet lord, if someone doesn't make some damn sense right this second," The Southerner lifts a hand and wags a finger at the room in general, "I'ma smack someone."

Eden McCain? That name sounds almost familiar. But it doesn't matter right now, because what Matt says causes Peter to go very, very pale. The hand drops away from Mara's face, and he starts to pry his other hand out of her grasp, giving her a, "I have to make some phone calls, Mara, please, if Sylar's loose— if Gray is loose, I have to— /my niece/." She has to understand that. She has to— if she has any of him inside her, she knows what he wanted. He looks towards Matt. If Mara looks like she's going to be sick, so does he. (I can try to call him, but— I have to check on Claire first, I have to.) And you know what? Screw the hospital. He pulls out his cellphone and gets to dialing.

"Damaris," Matt says in a tone not unlike one he might use to reprimand Molly. "I told you. I don't care what bullshit he spews, it doesn't fucking matter." Matt lifts his hand to peer out from under it at Ed, his expression stern though strained. "You haven't been to the precinct yet today, then, huh? That's where your priorities lie. Got it." He straightens up in the chair once again and clears his throat, glancing to Desiree. "Last night, one Gabriel "Sylar" Gray broke into my home with a pyromaniac accomplice known only to myself and Mohinder Suresh as Kellie. She set a table on fire and abducted my little girl and Doctor Suresh. Consider yourself, 'not held out on.'" And Slump the Third.

Ed looks at Mara and then Matt, before scowling. "What the hell are you talking about? This morning I was…" . o O (Where the hell was I this morning?) "… You're all nutjobs, but who the hell cares? Is there any reason for us to be sitting around here?"

Mara lets go of Peter, clarity suddenly hitting her. For a moment, she grins. It doesn't belong on her face. It belongs on /his/. So pure. So innocent. So /important/. "Claire." The name is spoken as though it is the single most important word she has ever spoken in her life. But then, she snaps out of it. "Save Claire." Save the cheerleader. Save the world. "I can feel it. The hunger. Just saying her name makes me want to- Peter. Hurry." She'd love to scream at Parkman for knowing who Ed was, who he's with, and not saying a word to her. But.. he's right. It doesn't matter.

These bits and pieces of tragedy, danger and unfamiliar names flying around the hospital room? They do very little to make things clear for Desiree until Matt lays it out. That? Adds to her mounting concern. But understanding starts to settle in. "Oh no," she says softly. She looks around at the assembled, strangers to her, every one of them, but linger on Mara; she slowly stands up from her crouch at the woman's side, her arms crossing tightly again. Still shaking. "…so what're y'all gonna do about it?" A mimic of Ed's sentiments.

Right now? Peter's making a phone call. Moving off to the side, but not leaving the room, he says into the phone, "Claire? Are you okay? Where are you right now?" His voice is panicked, concerned. There's a brief pause, as if for an response. "Listen, it— Shit," yes, this situation is enough to make him curse harshly. "Can you get ahold of your dad? Make him take you somewhere safe, anywhere. Sylar's got ahold of Mohinder Suresh and Molly Walker, and…" He cuts off, there's another pause, longer this time, and he's looking ready to start pacing. Whatever he hard though, he doesn't like. "Fuck," there's that cursing again! "Then call Nathan. You have his cellphone, right? If you can't get ahold of either of them, call me back. Meet up with Drake, stay in public. There's— he might even have his abilities back already…" And he's not done yet, either.

"Where were you this morning?" Matt reiterates, not only straightening in the chair but rising from it to walk over to Ed, keeping his voice just below Nurse Approved Level. "Because you know where I was? I was sitting in a precinct, waiting to hear word from a team of officers about a tail that never caught on to what they were tailing and a phone call that /still/ hasn't come." He takes a deep breath, and then listens to Peter's end of of the phone call for a moment, but his focus is cut off by Desiree's voiced question. "We can't do anything until we know where he is. We've got stakeouts and people on phone-duty - the whole fucking department is on this like white on rice. (And more private interests too,) he adds to Mara, if only to assure her that they aren't fighting the battle alone. As he talks, Matt's own hand curls around his cell phone. Ring, dammit. /Ring./

Ed backs up a few paces. "I was…" He flinches. . o O (What the hell. This can't be happening. Is it Sylar? Is Sylar /here/?) "… Fuck you, Parkman, alright? Seriously. We're not playing a game, here. It's none of your business where I was."

"Of course. It's all very /interdepartmental/ now, isn't it?" Mara gives Matt a knowing look. "Ed," she says gently - a stark contrast to Parkman's outburst - holding out a hand to the FBI man. "Come here. Give me something you always carry with you and I'll tell you where you've been. I'll tell you where you're going." She gives Parkman another brief look. There, I'm admitting it. "Come on, partner."

Desiree fidgets with the forgotten portfolio case she's been holding under one arm, then fidgets with the coat that's folded over her arm, toying with the green fluff. She's quiet for now, observing, though she looks like she's on the verge of speaking up - with what, she doesn't even know. She watches Mara, curiosity flickering in her eyes. (These're the people too,) she thinks to herself, some kind of tentative epiphany. (Connect the dots and then they all go away.)

Something said on the other end of the phone call makes Peter's expression soften, growing more worried, "I don't know, I don't know. You can if— I don't know yet. Try to call Nathan and your dad, okay? I have to make some more phone calls. Call me back if you can't get ahold of them. I'll call you back as soon as I'm done with the phone calls, okay?" Another brief pause, followed by a, "You too, Claire, just— I'll call you back soon." And he hangs up. This time he starts to drift towards the door as he dials, "Hiro! Listen… Sylar's got Mohinder and Molly, and… there was something about a woman helping him, the one in the painting maybe. A table was set on fire. But he's— Parkman thinks he might have his abilities back." A pause, surprised voice from the young man on the phone, "You have her number?" Then there is relief, "Thank you. I told her to call her father and Nathan, phone might be busy. I— I'll call you or her back as soon as— as soon a I figure out where to go. We don't know where they are right now. I don't know how to find them…"

With Mara calling to Ed, Matt steps back, and actually heads toward Desiree. The dot-connection mark is intriguing, but he's already got enough on his plate…and the idea of everyone in this room being connected isn't too far-fetched for him to swallow. "It'll all be alright," he offers as reassurance. "The world's survived worse."

"I'm not letting you anywhere near my gun, Damaris," Ed says, and backs up again. . o O (You've snapped. Oh, Mara.) "Let's just…" He seems to concede Matt's point about his whereabouts this morning. . o O (I don't know what the hell happened, but I sure as hell can't give Parkman flak for it.) "Let's find your daughter."

"So take the bullets out of it," Mara inclines her head, hand still held out. "I promise you, I won't even take it from you. Just let me touch it. That's all you need to do." She actually smiles, though her lips tremble as she does and the tears take away any possibility of genuine mirth. "Trust me, Ed. Please."

Desiree, looking a little frazzled by this point, is welcoming of Matt's reassurances. "Yeah?" she queries hopefully, managing a strained little smile. "I don't even know what it's up against." Widened eyes watch the others; murderers, guns, kidnappings… her optimism is going to have to work overtime.

"Hiro?" Peter calls into the phone, the relief changing rather quickly. But it would see the phone call has ended, because he closes the cellphone and looks towards Parkman, a darkened expression in his eyes. This is bad. Very bad. How are they going to make it through this? True, the world has survived worse. It survived him… "Hiro's going to find Claire, protect her. If he's still after her…" That'd be one of the first people he'd have Molly find, right? Except maybe… "I need your number. I need to be able to contact you, and you me. If one of us finds Sylar first…" Thank God for hospitals with writing pads and pencils, cause he picks one up and starts scrawling down his cellphone number, leaving enough room on the piece of paper for a return number.

"I'm trying to," Matt replies to Ed with a sigh, feeling useless for the umpteenth time today. A coward, even. Perhaps. "We're up against one very crazy, very determined ma…monster," he says to Desiree before he starts to think out loud. "We can stakeout every lab in the city. And the airport and bus stations." Do they have that manpower? "He'll want to go to a lab if he has Mohinder with him. He'll want… he thinks he's ill, and he thinks Mohinder can fix him. And once he's fixed, he'll…he'll…" But Matt sinks away from Desiree on his way to the chair once again. "Let her do it Boone," he says in a softer, distant voice.

Ed doesn't reach for his gun. Screw that. It's unprofessional and he's not drunk this time. Instead, he reaches for his FBI badge, and tosses it like a frisbee at Mara. "Fine. Do what you like. We're wasting time here," Ed says, with a grimace. "No offense, Damaris, but unless you've got a real Nobel winner of an idea we're wasting time in your hospital room."

"Once he's 'fixed,' I'm his target," Mara says quietly. "Parkman." She looks seriously at the other detective. "…Matt. I have visions. When he kills me," this is now a matter of when now, not if, "he'll have all the same flaws I have until he figures out how to use my ability. And I'm not going to tell him what I can do, so that he won't know how to counteract the side effects. You… You need to be close by when he kills me. Once he has my ability, he'll be vulnerable." Ed's badge falls into her lap and she stares at it with wide eyes, a shiver running down her spine. "This is what will happen to him." She reaches out. Trembling fingers brush over the surface of the badge and immediately the woman drops back onto the pillows, completely unconscious.

So this is a /different/ monster of a man, then - that's what Desiree is rationalizing, thinking back on her encounter of another near-murderous kind a few nights before with Ramon. As Mara speaks, the woman listens, wonder and trepidation in her eyes. "You too…?" she says quietly under her breath, both eyebrows raising. When Mara goes limp, Dezi instinctively steps to her beside, checking vitals with a professional hand. "Ain't set in stone," she murmurs to herself - or perhaps Mara - and then looks at the others pointedly. "Well, there's gotta be some way to stop this whacko from gettin' to that point. What Mara's sayin' is no kinda plan if she's dead! Y'all are talkin' 'bout your /plans/. What're you still here for 'cept for this guy?" She juts a thumb at Ed. "Well?!" The woman stands up straight, tossing her folder and coat on a chair in order to put her hands on her hips.

Matt takes the pad from Peter when it's offered in order to scrawl his own number down, and he then rips it in two so that he can keep one half and Peter the other. While he does so, he focuses his mind on Mara. (No,) he projects conversationally. (He'll go after Molly. And he'll use Molly to find you.) It's easier thought than said. Then his mind takes on a different goal - it's not simply conveying a voice, like he would if he moved his mouth and used his vocal chords. It's a command, pure and simple: (Wake up.)

Taking the officer's number, Peter looks at Desiree and nods, as she does have a point, but— damnit Mara. Don't talk like you're dead already. "When she wakes up, tell her she can call me." He doesn't have time to stick around. Even if Hiro's going to be watching over Claire, he needs to try and look— has to call more people… And just as Desiree hinted, he's hurrying out of the door and down the hallway.

Ed scowls and reaches for a cigarette. "I guess I'm staying here, then," he says. . o O (How the hell did this happen? How am I gonna sit here babysitting a psychopath?) He shakes his head and pulls out his gun, making sure it's loaded and and ready to go.

The point of view from Ed's badge. As though it had eyes. Looking up. The frame is covered by dark edges — in a box, maybe? Ed and the thin, dark-haired man look down at it. "Oh, boy. I finally get my merit badge," Ed says, with a grimace.

Ed, in an empty apartment. Bare. Completely bare — bare walls, no decorations, no nothing. A small cot to sleep on. Ed's laying on it when he hears a noise. He darts up and pulls his gun on the shadows. Fear. Alertness. The thin man (Rainer) and the Haitian step out of the shadows. "Did you hear, Agent Boone? They said on the six o' clock news that it looks like snow." Confusion. Betrayal.

Guilt. A wave of indescribable guilt and shame.

A replay of the night in the cab. Fear. Trust. Confusion. Defense. Protection. Safety.

Ed points a gun at the thin-man. He's younger. They're both younger. The Haitian steps out of the shadows, seizes Ed, and puts his hands over his eyes. It's an almost exact replay of the earlier vision, save for that everyone is a few years younger. A combination of two visions? Maybe disjointed in time? It's hard to say. The sense of deja vu is overwhelming. Betrayal. Justice. Pride. And then nothing.

Wake up.

Unnaturally drawn from her vision, Mara sits bolt upright in her bed, screaming at the top of her lungs. She scrabbles about, looking for something to grab onto. Pain quickly serves as a reminder that she can't climb out of bed. Can't run. It's the pain that clears her head. Reminds her where she is. Her gaze pins down Ed. Pity. Fear. Sympathy. Sorrow. Her thoughts, however, are for Parkman. They're using him. He has no idea. They're just using him. Over and over and over again. "Ed. Oh, Ed," is all she can manage to say.

Desiree nods frenetically at Peter before he rushes out. Her eyes widen when Ed takes out his gun; but he had a badge, so it's all good, right? Concerned for the woman whose fate she seems to have dictated, and who shares the strange knack for seeing things most people weren't meant to see, she brushes aside Mara's hair with her fingertips just before the woman comes crashing awake. That might make Desiree something to hold onto, as she reaches out for one of her hands, steadying Mara's shoulder at the same time.

Ed sits himself down in a chair, his gun in his hand. "Just — shut up. I don't know who's sane and who's nuts anymore, and I don't care. All I care about is catching this guy. So just sit there and keep yourself quiet," he says, with a flat, empty scowl. "I'm tired of being accused and taking part of this fantasy games. Can you help me catch Sylar? No? Then sit there and be bait, for all I care. It's all you seem to want to do anyhow."

Matt would be right there with Mara, but there is an FBI Agent to yell at. (She's not a psycho,) he projects, trying once more to harness that command-like tone. Still, it's not a very strong voice. (If you want really want to find Sylar, go and track down a list of labs. Flash that FBI badge about. Get some /real/ police work done. Let the locals babysit each other.) After that's done, and feeling just as confident as he did before (even though he's working with a conscious target now), Matt moves to Mara's bed and sits near the end, searching her thoughts for something that makes sense. What did she see?

It isn't hard to tell that Ed's words cut Mara deep. She murmurs a quiet thank-you to Desiree, patting her arm as she starts to calm down. "Matt…" That man. The one who takes the memories. Alters them. Bennet's partner. With the strain or her vision and the morphine in her system, Mara has a hard time collecting her thoughts and projecting them properly.

For a moment that hard glare of Ed's softens. "Listen, I'm…" . o O (Not again.) "… Maybe we should both stick around. Sylar's dangerous, even for a cop with a gun." . o O (I don't trust you to keep her safe, fatass.)

"I'm going to go try and keep from ever /reaching/ the point where he'd want to come after Damaris," Matt nearly growls as he forms the words. "He's going to go after Molly first anyway. He uses people like damned tissues. Mohinder. Then Molly. Then Damaris. If you're not careful, Boone, you'll get caught up like…fuck I dunno." A booger? Matt falls at wit. Grumbling to himself, Matt whips out his phone and leaves the room, showing no intention of staying to swap stories with Peter. He has his number.

Mara watches Matt go with a nervous expression, which she then turns on Desiree. "You should go. You've seen… Don't let him find you. If he finds you, you'll end up like me." She fishes in the top drawer of her nightstand and retrieves a business card with a phone number scrawled on the back in purple ink. "Here. If you run into trouble, or you… remember anything else, call me."

Desiree takes the business card, looking at it in the way one does when they're not really paying attention to what they're seeing; but she's thankful, and it's palmed. "I will," she says, and scrawls her own number on a pad by the bed. "But I ain't goin' far. Mm-mm. I'ma check on you." And before Mara can properly argue (not that Dezi would listen), she gives the patient a pointed look and sneaks out of the room. She is going to lurk in the hospital and keep an eye on Mara, yes she is.

Ed rests his gun on his shoulder, and sort of slumps back into a chair as Matt steps out of the room. He stares at Mara, before shaking his head. . o O (I'm retiring after this. If I'm still alive. I'm getting out of the Bureau while I'm still Ed.)

"Reminds me of my mum," Mara mutters under her breath and then eyes Ed. "So… It's you and me." She takes in a deep breath and eyes the gun. "Ed?"

"It's not you and me," Ed says. "It's me. You're the bait, remember?" His blue eyes are hard and steely. "It's never been you and me. I trusted you, and all you've done is play the same game with me that Parkman is. You two oughta be partners. You deserve each other. So just sit tight."

"You're the FBI, Ed! You knew this was going to be strange when you decided to cross the lines of jurisdiction!" Mara takes in a deep breath, "I have been more honest with you than I have been with Parkman." This is the absolute truth. "I told you my theories. I never lied to you." I just… withheld some info.

"Bull," Ed says, looking at Mara. "We both know there's more here going on, and I don't care. I know how it is. I was stupid, and that's on me. Wouldn't be the first time. Just — all I care about is catching this guy, and that's all /you/ should care about, too. You've probably never been honest for a day in your life, so don't — don't try. I don't have the patience right now."

"I see the past, Ed. And sometimes, I see the future. I blackout. I hit the ground. I make people think that I'm losing my fucking mind." Mara purses her lips, her own gaze angry. "I've seen you with a gun under your chin, ready to pull the trigger. I've seen you with a man who takes memories. Alters them. You're in a room, there's nothing in it. Just a cot. And they betray you. Over and over and over again."

"That's great," Ed says, flatly. "I'll call Miss Cleo and tell her to keep an eye out for any suicide horoscopes. I'm sure she'll let me know. Just… I can't deal with this right now. I don't know who you think I am, but I know who I think I am. And that's enough."

"Who do you think you are, Ed? A good man? An FBI man? A hero?" Mara nods slowly. "Good. I like that man. I like him a lot. And if you like him? Then that's who you should be." The subject is dropped, but the next line of conversation isn't much peppier. "If he comes- If he comes for me here, and… And it comes down to it… Forget about shooting him. If he's got his abilities, he'll be unstoppable. But… shoot me. Don't let him do what he wants to do to me."

Ed scowls. "I'll try to find it in my heart to part with your company," he says. He means it to sound cruel, but he doesn't seem to mean it all that much. "Just give me some quiet, would you, already, oh Madame."

Mara sinks down into her bed and pulls the blanket up over her shoulders. "No more secrets," she promises. "Wake me if anything comes up."

Ed sort of waves his gun. "Yeah. Sweet dreams, your worshipfulness," he says, with a deeper grimace, before he slumps back a little more into his chair. Great. It's like he's a rookie again, baby-sitting some mob informer.

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