Date: April 28, 2010
Emma meets Peter while he's trying to get his old job back and she finds herself seeing things.
Normal days in the hospital have a few things in common. Bustle and noise. The way the walls are set up actually carry noise, but not everyone has to worry about that. The office is silent, at least to one person. Silence on top of silence, with the only bustle the shadows that wisp past the door, and the occasional appearance of people in uniform to drop off paper work and file requests. And then there's the occasional person, who is new, or doesn't take the time to read the sign hanging from the side of the desk.
"Excuse me?" a man in a simple suit asks, waving a hand. Other words had been uttered before, as his shadow approached the desk, as well. But they don't much matter. No tie makes his suit less formal, just a nice jacket and slick pants and shirt, but no uniform. Dark hair slicked back, mostly out of his face, with the facial hair showing in light shadows on his face and neck, he looks like he may have been in a rush, or just forgot to shave. To say he looks tired would be an understatement.
Peter should know by now he can't do everything, but he never seems to stop trying.
Desk organized and neat, fingers pick up a sheet to side of a keyboard of a computer ten years out of date. While Peter hears the paper rustle, the blonde woman hear nothing, only sees the paper move and feels the surface against the pad of her fingers. The person standing on other side of her desk wouldn't know this, because Emma is wearing a pair of white ear buds, visible cause her long blond hair is wound up neatly on the back of her head to make sure they are not missed.
Today is a casual wear day, with her dark red long sleeves shirt, the thin tank top she is wearing under it , peeks out from under the collar. Wearing a nice sharp pair of dark blue jeans.
She doesn't see Peter right away, her attention on the job she is currently working on, which includes imputing new files, updating logs. At this point, it looks almost like she ignoring him, as her fingers tap at the keys of the computer, the soft clicking only reaching Peter's ears.
It's only when a sense of movement and the hint of shadow out of the corner of her eyes, that Emma Coolidge finally glances Peter's way. Brow lift slightly at him, her head turning to the clipboard sitting out next to that handy sign that says to sign in. Green eyes flick back to the man in the suit and she slowly turns her chair so that she can lean over and tap the sign with a rather patient look, giving Peter a ghost of a smile.
"I don't know if I have everything…" Peter starts to say, but spots the headphones and frowns for a moment. There's a small sigh, as he looks away from the smile towards the door, probably wondering why he still has to do this much paper work anyway— Somehow getting the semblance of his old job back is proving to be more difficult than saving the world. Setting down the paper work he does have, which has already been filled out, despite the fact he's not sure it's the right paper work. It states he's transferring from another hospital to become an EMT here. But there's a big hole in his active time, showing months and months of inactivity. Too busy forgetting who he was, working for the bad guy, then hiding from the whole world in the last few months…
Signing his name, he glances at the time, and offers a return of the smile, though his more lopsided, and slightly awkward. The headphones may have put him off a little.
"Is there anything else I need?" he asks, hoping that the music is soft enough, as he hands the files across to her.
Everything he needs is there, except for one more form he needs to fill out.
Her eyes follow the movement of his lips, her expression doesn't give away that she's watching the way his lips shape into certain words. Anything else? Hmm…
Her gaze drops to the clip board as she turns it around to look at it, to get some context for his silent question, her brows lift in understanding. The clipboard is sets on the desk and she goes through what he's given her, going through a mental check list.
A finger lifts to tell him to give her a moment, with a push of her feet, Emma propels herself to a filing cabinet. Pulling a lower drawer open she walks fingers of the files, glancing at each in turn. It's her own filing system, but what he's asking for isn't all that common.
The file found, fingers dip in to pull out the missing paper in question. Eyes scan over it to see if it is the right one before she moves to propel back, only taking a moment to push the drawer closed again. Giving him her full attention again, she plucks up a pen and offers it and the paper to him, that same small patient smile.
He missed one it seems.
"I thought something was missing," Peter says outloud, perhaps thinking she can still hear him, despite her silence, taking the pen and stepping back to fill out the last thing, when there's the sudden burst of color coming from outside the room. Or at least, a burst of color to one of them. It's like a shimmering rainbow that ripples from the hallway, floating and spiking, and then cutting out completely. But it's enough to draw eyes. And for Peter, it's the wail of child in pain that draws his eyes, as a woman shows up at the door frame, with a kid in tow. A boy, about eight, with a baseball cap on his head and a long painful looking red stain on the leg of his baseball uniform. Sliding on rocks can do that.
Words are exchanged, as Peter turns from the desk to give directions, obviously pointing, as the kid limps and cries. The direction he points is toward the emergency room, but he steps forward and kneels down, while the woman keeps moving her lips, about how it happened, how she was sitting him. Not even his mother. Doesn't know his insurance information, can't contact his mother by phone. The panic is in her expression, her stance, and there's that spike of color again, coming when she taps her shoe against the floor. Peter pays more attention to the kid, as his hand goes to the boy's arm, the clipboard and pen abandoned on the floor for the moment.
Her mouth twitches a little to one side as his lips continue to move, sometimes it can seem amusing how they seem to continue to talk, Emma's ruse working in her favor. One more person ignorant to the fact that he has a disability. The file clerk likes it that way.
The flash of color brightening the corner of her eye, pulls Emma's eyes from Peter to the door, dark brows furrowing with the oddity of it. What was that? When a woman and child appears in the doorway, her whole body stiffens, fingers grip the edge of the desk tightly. She's only a file clerk, it is something she has to remind herself all the time.
She watches the story play across the woman's lips, but the twing of interest and then the flood of guilt draws her eyes down, where she sees the clipboard abandoned. She slides the chair back and moves to crouch and pick up the clipboard. The moment she slides fingers around the clipboard, there is another flash of color and this time she sees it.
Worry and confusion makes her eyes widen slightly and she stands up suddenly, taking a step or two back, face paling.
I'm going insane.
Emma's mother always warned that working in the secluded file room, wallowing in self-pity, would eventually drive her out of her mind. The blonde is starting to think she might be right.
As if to add to the possibility of insanity, while the sparks of light flow off of the woman's heel on the floor, the tension seems to leave the boy's face, like he's suddenly stopped feeling the pain from a few moments ago. Could be words soothing him, or the hand on his arm, but the collected blood looks fairly bad, even as a few rocks seem to fall out to lightly hit the ground. And by light, it's the small flashes of color that seem to be there a moment, and then not there the next.
Finally stepping back, he picks up the clipboard and pen, and there's a noticable in Peter's demenor, like he's suddenly gotten a wave of dizzyness. His skin looks paler as he gestures, says some final words, and the woman and boy go off toward the Emergency Room.
When he looks back, he finally sees the wide eyed expression through his sudden exhaustion. "Don't worry— it wasn't as bad as it looked," he says, though to be more honest, it was as bad as it looked, but it isn't anymore.
What he says is lost, as Emma's eyes follow the trails of color as they float away and fade into nothingness. Her eyes are still where she last saw the glint of color, but her head turns towards Peter. And without thinking she says desperate to know she isn't the only one, "Did you see that?" The words sound off to Peter, almost as if it's hard for her to know how to form those words just right, maybe over emphasizing certain things. The turn of her head, tugs the end of the earphones out of the pocket, but she doesn't notice it, even as it swings there free.
The jig is up.
Her eyes finally, move to the man, brows lifting in hope. Maybe Emma wasn't so crazy, maybe he saw the beautiful colors drift through the air too.
The off tone of voice seems to catch him by surprise, because it doesn't just sound like someone listening to music on headphones, and it's not an accent he hears often, either. But the sudden free-swinging of the headphones, with no iPod to be seen, catch Peter's attention, and he realizes. It's not pity, so much as embarassment for talking to himself, and then understanding. It explains the set up. "I saw the blood, but it really wasn't as bad as it looked," he says, making small gestures with his hands, though they don't really mean anything.
American Sign Languange is not something he's ever had to learn, and he can't even rely on telepathy right now to understand more easily, or relay his thoughts… Nor did he see the flashes of light. Not this time. Because he's currently visiting through proxy. The man who stands before her has only one ability, and that's healing.
Maybe she was just seeing things, after all.
The pen moves across paper, quickly finishing filling out the file, and he holds it out to her. "Thanks. I'll probably see a lot more of you, as long as they don't reject me." Or fire him the first time he runs off to save the world instead… He can't always manage to send a replica.
Emma brows drop and she looks somewhat disappointed, as it appears it was just her. Slowly she takes the clipboard from him and pulls it to her chest, arms wrapping around it. She doesn't really say anything, just gives a small little nod in affirmation, her expression a little distracted as she looks at the door.
Turning back to her desk, mind lost in thought, Emma tries to go over what she knows from her medical books in her head. There has to be a reasonable explanation for it… Right?
It isn't til she sits down and she moves to set the clip board on the desk, the edge catching the wire of her headphones that she realizes it was out. Her eyes snap up to Peter, her face worried at what she'll see. Surprisingly, it isn't what she expected… that further confuses her.
It's the first time she didn't see pity.
"I'll get these in today." She finally offers, giving him a tight lipped smile, hand patting the file. "I will see you again." She actually offers the in a sort of odd sort of pep talk.
"Thank you," Peter says again, keeping eye contact as if to make sure that she can understand him. There's that flicker of a lopsided smile again, if more tired than the original one. Could be a blood sugar issue, or something else. From a medical perspective, it is similar to sudden drop of blood pressure.
The files he turned in state nothing of the sort, though, but do include many things. Including his name. Peter Petrelli. Next of kin. Angela Petrelli. The brother and mother of the politician who had just been killed on television last week, his face on newspapers and reports of his body going missing.
It could all be related to grief. Though odd he'd choose to go back to work after his brother died, rather than the opposite.
After a final farewell gesture, a nod, he moves to walk back out into the hall, disappearing into the noise that she doesn't hear— or see at the moment, either.