2009-09-29: None Of Your Business



Date: September 29th, 2009


Peter finds a way to start checking out what Tracy knows.

"None of Your Business"

Tracy's Apartment

Washington, D.C.

It can't be far past 6 AM. While the residence is neat and tidy, there are some things in disarray, normal hints of its owner preparing to leave. A laptop open on the glass coffee table in front of the couch, near the fireplace; yesterday's newspaper spread out in a jumble beside it, featuring the headline ACCOUNTANT MISSING; a carry-on sized bag thrown by the door.

At present, Tracy herself is stepping out of the bedroom. White satin shirt — sleeveless, meant to be worn under a jacket she's yet to put on — high-waisted black skirt, pearls around her neck; even on the verge of a breakdown, Ms. Strauss is pretty immaculate. She stops in the hall to put matching earrings on in the mirror there. Tracy's apartment is flooded with early morning light, but the woman herself isn't exactly feeling the sunshine.

It's early in the morning. Too early for an unexpected meeting. Or so it would seem. The knuckles that contact the door to her apartment might have another idea. No one buzzed in. Another person living in the building, perhaps? Someone wanting a cup of sugar? Or perhaps a maintenance guy, checking on her faucet. It could be a lot of things. But who would expect a late-twenty something man in a suit with a freshly shaven face and hair hanging into his forehead?

The truth of his meeting would be too potentially jarring. An outright lying is something he tries to avoid, so Peter Petrelli has a plan. Whether it is good or not, is to be seen.

After the delicate pearls are affixed to her ears, Tracy runs a brush through her long hair a few times — it can hardly get any straighter — and stops abruptly when she hears the knock on the door. Neighbours, maintenance… these options barely cross her mind. Two things do: Ivory … or a detective. She turns in the small hallway, hesitating, but only for a moment. Instead of answering the door, she calls out. The voice that reaches Peter is casual and unenthusiastic, as though indifferent to her company, but it's not entirely unfamiliar. Not entirely unlike that of the sister he knew. At least he's in the right place. "Who is it?"

Not a police officer, though the suit could easily be a fed of some kind. "Ms. Strauss? I'm Peter Petrelli. I— I was referred to you as an advisor for political and business reasons. My— brother is Nathan Petrelli. He's been missing for a year, but I wanted to… to um— I really don't want to try to talk about this through a door…" The further he goes on, the younger he sounds, but it's not really insecurity. He's sure of what he's saying, it's just somehow difficult for him. The truth, without being why he's here. Or so he hopes.

Peter may not be able to see it, but the resident of the apartment is giving the door a confused, discerning stare. What? Fine. Tracy strides to the door to answer it, but she's not particularly happy about it. The door opens up, pale, mascara-framed blue eyes immediately taking in the sight of the complete stranger in front of her. "Hi. Mr. Petrelli?" She smiles, polite, but it's cursory, fleeting. "Listen, this is a bad time. I'm just getting ready for a trip."

For a moment, there's a quiet look of confusion and possibly even longing that crosses the man's face. Peter takes in a slow breath, "I— sorry… Um. I'm sorry this is a bad time, but my brother has been missing for a year now. I've travelled all over the world trying to find him and I still haven't been able to. I don't know what happened to him, or where he went or… I know that his Senatorial seat is lost and there's no hope he'll get it back, but for when I do find him, I haven't given up hope, I wanted to… set up something ahead of time so he might be able to get his career back. At least… partially." While he says this, he almost seems to be in pain, squinting his eyes, flinching a little. It's a tough subject, missing family. But that's not why. He's trying to see if his missing brother sparks any thoughts.

Tracy regards the man at her door with a vaguely prying expression — get to the point already, she's in a hurry, in other words. She smiles and gives her head a light shake. She remembers Nathan — or at least, she thinks she does — in a flash of memory a year old, a brief meeting. I met Nathan when Malden sent me about the proposal. Experimental studies. He retracted them.

"It's really too bad about your brother's disappearance. I do hope you find him, he seemed like a good man. But it so happens that I work with the man who took his place now. Senator Wynn. "I— " Tracy smiles wider while her narrowing eyes take on a questioning glimmer. "I'm … sorry, who did you say referred you?" Tracy asks with narrowing eyes, although she remembers acutely that he didn't say. She glances over Peter's shoulder, a follow-up in the form of another question, this one unvoiced: how did he get in?

"Nathan mentioned you to me before he disappeared, because you met him for Governor Malden, about some kind of proposal?" Peter sounds unsure, but as with most of these things, it's been over a year, and it's likely he's forgotten the exact details. "And I saw your name mentioned again recently with a company I fly with in my search for my brother, and I decided that now might be the time to start laying a foundation so he can have a career again." It's all true, in a way. "I wasn't directly referred to you, I'm sorry. But I heard of your work. What kind of work do you do with Senator Wynn?" Again, he's looking stressed, but that's because reading her mind is stressful!

"I'm his…" Tracy, distracted by how damn stressed this guy looks, pauses before she continues, holding onto the door that she doesn't let him through. "…advisor— Mr. Petrelli, it's very altruistic of you to help out your brother when he's not even here, but it might be more worthwhile for both of you to wait until you know he even wants a political career before you go knocking door to door." Maybe he doesn't want a political career. Maybe he's dead. Maybe this is a waste of time. "If he shows up and decides he wants my advice, then I'll think about it." If I'm even around, she thinks rather dismally afterward.

Missing for a year may not be time enough to get someone declared dead, but it's rare that someone missing that long is found. That could explain the stress. It's true, his brother's disappearance does bother Peter quite a bit, but trying to read her mind is even more difficult, especially when he's not getting much, other than… "Are you okay? You said you were— you were going away for a while, on a trip? But… sorry. It's none of my business. It's just… you…" Look so familiar. Just like… "You're right that it's my brother's decision, but there's also the matter of what I should do with his estates and… other things. I could use the advice as well. Maybe when you get back from your trip I could… meet with you."

"I should only be gone for a day," Tracy corrects, giving the man a briefly… odd look. However, she obliges Peter with a taut smile, running a hand through her hair and closing her eyes for a second, dismissing some manner of frustration. "Sure." The advisor concedes, although she might just be trying to make him go away. "Here— " she turns away, leaving the door freely open while she moves a short distance to nick a business card from a purse that sits on a table in the entryway. "I assume that if you can track me down, you already know how to contact me, but here." Tracy Strauss, CONSULTANT. It's handed to her visitor at arm's length. "My card."

"I seem to be skilled at finding most anyone except my own brother, Ms. Strauss," Peter says, sounding more regretful than jesting. It's a sad ironic fact that he can't really escape. "But at least now you'll have some kind of warning before I drop in," he says, as he takes the card, sticking it into his jacket. "I hope your trip goes well and I hope to be able to contact you again soon." How much does she know? It's difficult to tell. But now that he's met her, he can always try other methods. Especially if he knows where she sleeps.

Tracy once again stands by the door, hand on its edge ready to close it on Peter aaaany time now. The familiar-faced blonde flashes another one of her civil smiles — naturally bright, but completely distracted. In her eyes, her heart's not really in it, even to be convincingly interested in the prospect of a client. "If you'll excuse me…" There goes the door swinging shut.

"Thank you for your time," Peter says, even as the door swings shut. He takes a step back into the hallway, then begins to head for the stairs. He checked where cameras were, the visible ones, and once he's out of sight of them, they'll never even catch him leaving. Kind of how they never caught him coming in.

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