2007-04-04: Old And New Alliances


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Summary: Peter comes to talk to Cass after store hours. They discuss Cass' desire to open up her clinic and Peter starts to regret his decision to negotiate with the Company. Cass offers to help Peter control his powers. Witness increasing spam!

April 4th, 2007:

Old and New Alliances

Enlightenment Books

It's past closing time at Enlightenment Books. The sign on the door is flipped to 'Closed' but the lights are still on, probably meaning that someone is still here. In fact, if looking through the window at the right time, they'll see Cass putting books away and generally doing the normal closing up things that must be done in a bookstore. There's also a dog that's following her around as she does so. Happily panting and wandering around the store as if she owns it as much as Cass does.

With all calls directed at the store failing to go through, finding the phoneline to be disconnected or otherwise unoperable, there's really no way to be sure that anyone would be here. Except the lights, and the sight through the window. Standing outside the window, glancing is, is the younger brother of a former politican. Dressed in a long black coat, Peter'd almost blend into the darkness, and as it's difficult to see outside from a lighted room, he may not be seen at all until he approaches the door and knocks firmly against the glass. At least he can see that the person he needed to talk to would be in.

After closing time, Cass doesn't pick up the store phone some days. This is one of those days. Even with her own phone still out for the count, she's of the opinion that she's off-duty from the store for now. She's not looking outside and when there's a knock on the door, she rolls her eyes, though Bonnie the dog goes eagerly to see who it might be there. She's closed and doesn't want to explain to whoever is desperate for some book that she is certainly and definitely closed now. However, when she turns to see the younger Petrelli, she blinks and unlocks and opens the door. "Mr. Petrelli. Hi!" Bonnie doesn't try to run out the door, but she sniffs Peter excitedly. "Good to see you."

Stepping inside, Peter can't help but smile down at the dog, not seeming to be annoyed at all by the animal, even reaching down to give her a ruffle on the top of the head before he straightens. "I tried to call to see if you were here," he says, letting the door get closed and locked behind him now that he's inside. "Guess it's been a few days longer than I intended. With— everything going on I've been trying to keep an eye out for… someone." He has to wonder how much she knows of, but he doesn't expect her to be completely out of the loop. "It's okay that I'm here now, right? I can help you with anything you need help with— I'll try not to break anything this time."

Cass grins and opens the door wider to let Peter in. "No no, it's fine. Come on in." Reaching down, she takes a hold of Bonnie's collar and pulls her back slightly to give the Petrelli some room and to make sure that she won't jump up on him. Of course, Bonnie is extraordinarily well trained, so the gesture is mostly superfluous. "Want something to drink? I've got some older coffee. Or I can put some water on for tea. Whichever." She gives a soft laugh. "Don't worry about it. I wish I could say it was the first time someone accidentally rearranged my store for me."

"Well, considering this place seems to attract a certain kind of people… it doesn't surprise me if you've had accidents before," Peter admits with a smile, as he steps further inside as he starts to adjust his coat in ways that are entirely unnecessary. Fidgetting, really. Almost as if he /is/ afraid that he'll break anything he touches. "I'm fine for now, thanks." Now, to figure out how to approach certain topics… "A lot of people I've been meeting… a lot of them seem to know you. And… there's only one thing that seems to be in common with all of them. And— it's what might be bringing them here…"

As soon as Peter is inside of the store, Cass closes and locks the door again. "Okay," she replies to not needing a drink. "Yeah. Well, I had to close the store down for a day because I think someone earthquaked my store." She smiles. "I think I know what you're talking about. There's no need to mince words. People who can do…special things." Tilting her head a little, she raises any eyebrow. "A lot of people know me? Really? I guess it's just because I sell that Activating Evolution book. So many people seem to want it lately." She stops, realizes that she's rambling and shrugs. Then, she studies Peter. "Mr. Nakamura said that you were the most powerful out of all of them. Why is that? Is it because you can make things shake?"

"Well, two people I know work here," Peter explains softly, "And I think you at least knew about the… attempt to… rescue me." That should explain how she seems to be known by a lot of the people he's talking about here. It's when she mentions Hiro that he reaches up to run a hand over his short hair. "Well— I… sort of absorb the abilities of others. Not really sure how it works, but— I can use them later. If I think about them— think about how they made me feel when I was around them." It doesn't look as if he completely understands it. "I can do— a lot of things. Some things I probably don't even know about. Still not sure what caused the incident here last time.

"I know you know Alyssa," Cass responds. Bonnie has satisfied her curiosity with Peter and moves back to Cass' side as she makes for the employee room. There are more chairs or them to sit on back there. Pushing open that door, she flips on the switch for the hot water pot. Even if Peter doesn't want anything, she feels like this might be a conversation that she may need tea for. "She's the one that told me to call you. Plus, I got an envelope from Jane telling me about plans developing over Sylar and that fire-thrower. Kellie, I think her name was." Gesturing to a chair, Cass takes one that isn't right behind her desk. She doesn't want this to feel like an interview or something despite it happening in her store. "Yeah. I heard about the rescue peripherally. Some of the people sort of…ended up at my store after what happened." Frowning, she looks down at the desk where Padfoot died. "Most of the ones that went there are my friends." As for Peter's powers, she nods. "That seems like something useful. Kind of like…a sponge?"

Following close behind, Peter continues to fidget idly, adjusting buttons or the cuffs of his coat, and then settles down into the chair, listening to what she has to say. Yes, those would be the ways he'd thought she'd hear of him. "I've mostly heard of you from Alyssa," he adds, though there's some implications there's more to it than that. From his chair, he lowers his eyes, "Yeah, sort of like a sponge, I guess." Mr Sponge… "Though someone I met— he helped me with my abilities— called me an empath." From the tone of his voice, he still doesn't understand that. "But things have changed a little since I was here last— with Sylar. I'm not sure what happened to Kellie. I don't imagine she'd be working together with him anymore, in any case. He's… been healed— fixed. In some ways his ability is like mine. Except he murders people to gain their ability, cuts open their skulls and rips out their brains. That's… why I've been too busy to stop by. I've been trying to look for him. Without much success."

The water is bubbling merrily in it's plastic container, but Cass pays it no mind until it starts to boil. Tilting her head a little, she notices Peter's fidgeting, but tries to not betray that through facial expression. "Alyssa's great. She…was there when everyone came in after the aftermath of your…well, I can't really call it a rescue since they didn't really rescue you. But, she was here. I wouldn't have involved her otherwise. I keep on feeling like I'm putting people I care about in danger by letting them know one thing or another. And I hate it." She frowns, runs a hand through her hair and then shakes her head. This isn't the time for that, is it? "An empath?" Cass thinks that through for a moment. "I can see that. Empaths are people who can pick up on other people's emotions and then either feel them or project them. So, I guess you're like an empath for peoples abilities. Though I kind of like the idea that people could call you SpongeBob Peter." Yes, a joke. She can't help it. Then, the mentioning of Sylar brings the frown back, but it's more contemplative. "I heard. I saw a message Elena sent to Lachlan warning us. It…well, it freaks me out. So many people I know are in danger now. I don't understand Sylar other than the basics. Mohinder told me that he…takes peoples abilities somehow. And I heard from someone else that he cuts people's heads open. But he had some sort of virus that kept him from using his powers. So…he's cured now. It scares me. We have to stop him somehow."

A lot of what she says, Peter seems to empathize with. He gives a small nod at her fear of involving people, getting them caught up in dangerous things. "What they did helped me escape, though. It wasn't for nought. Couldn't have snuck out as easily as I did if their attention hadn't been directed in other locations." Much the same as he explained to Elena, and Jane, and Jack… "Guess so. Really not sure how it works. Mohinder— talked about studying me. To find a way to fix what was happening, much like the facility I was in promised to do. I— can't control the abilities I get sometimes. And… some of them are pretty dangerous." Though he's not sure he wants to clarify what that means. "I guess that's why Hiro thinks I'm the most powerful… but I— can't really do much." His eyes are lowered as he adds that, insecure in his own abilities, from the sound of things. "I believe… there's two people Sylar will go after before he goes after anyone else. But there's really no way to know for sure." Taking in a slow breath, he adds in a slightly more deteremined voice, "I'm going to stop him. Just… I hope I can stop him in time."

Deciding that talking about the rescue is just going to be going over things they both already know, Cass just nods to what Peter says in agreement. She wasn't there, so she doesn't really know what happened during the actual escape. Just what happened afterward. "Well, you can make bookshelves shake," she smiles good-naturedly. "That's pretty cool." She's not really all that upset about the mess that he caused. As she said before, she's had worse. "Yeah. I know what Mohinder's trying to do. Actually, I'm trying to do something similar. But not….associated what the Company that he works through." Yes, there is that emphasis on the C there. "I don't have the background or the resources he does, but I want to try and help people who are trying to cope with what they're going through. There's nothing like a support group for them. You." She raises her eyebrows at the assertion that he knows who Sylar will go after. "Wow. You sound so sure. How are you going to do it? And how can I help?"

A support group… Peter can't help but smile. "I like that. I think it's a really a good idea. There's a lot of people who… need help. Who shouldn't have to go to a facility to get it. I let them lock me up because… I was dangerous. Already told Elena, Jack and Jane about this… but one of the abilities I absorbed turned me into a walking nuclear bomb. I exploded above New York City last year. In November. On election night. Would have exploded in Midtown if… someone hadn't gotten me out of there." He's not sure she knows of his brother's ability, so he'll leave it vague on who got him where he went nuclear. "Took me months to realize that I didn't need their pills to control it— that I could leave. If I'd had somewhere else to go for help… I would have. I think others have that, even though I didn't." Eyebrows lower faintly, but… "Honestly… I don't have a plan. I just… have to." The determination couldn't be confused with confidence anymore, "I've fought Sylar three times… two times I died. Third time I almost blew up New York. But I have people that are counting on me… people that believe in me. Can't let them down. Was hoping… to get some help, to have people there with me. To learn a few things before he got his abilities back… but not sure I have time for that anymore."

The plastic kettle automatically shuts off, letting Cass know that the water is done. On auto-pilot, she stands up and grabs two mugs and the chamomile tea. No need for caffeine tonight. She's already halfway done with filling Peter's mug with hot water before she realizes that he told her earlier that he didn't need any. Hm. Well. She'll just have /two/ mugs of tea if he doesn't take it. "That's what I was thinking. People should have /options/ on how they cope. It shouldn't be kidnapping and imprisonment or nothing." After all, Peter went through that. He should know. Taking the two mugs back over to their chairs, she smiles sheepishly. "I, uh, you don't have to drink it. I can definitely have two cups of chamomile in one sitting." But, she puts it in front of him in case he may want to take it off her hands. "Well, there's something to be said for improv. Though I think that's kind of what went wrong in the attempt to rescue you. Not enough planning." She's blowing over the mug of tea when he mentions dying. Twice. And it makes her stare at him over the rim of her beverage. Did…did she just hear him right? "You. You…what? You /died/? /Twice/? You're talking figuratively, right?" Even with all she's heard and seen, coming back from the dead is a little out there even for her. She doesn't know anything about him almost blowing up New York and she certainly doesn't know anything about Nathan other than the fact that the other day she was reminded that he ran for Congress, so she'll just move on to Sylar. "I've never met Sylar and I never want to. But I want to help you if I can, Mr. Petrelli. I'm not sure how helpful I'd be. I don't really do rescues or anything heroic…but maybe I could help you with controlling yourself and harnessing your…well…SpongeBobness. If you can in between the saving people thing."

People should definitely have the option, from the way Peter nods. "If I'd know this was what you were planning… I do now, I guess. Can always send people your way, if I think what they really want is just to cope and learn to live with their ability, have a normal life." Even though he'd said no to the tea, he reaches out and takes it, showing that he'll take anything held out to him, it would seem. "Thank you. It's fine." He even takes a sip on it, before… smiling sheepishly at the comment of death, and it being figurative. "Actually… I'm not. One of the abilities I have allows me to regenerate. I don't… stay dead. First time I threw us both off a building, about four stories. Killed me, but not him… Second time… a piece of glass got stuck in my skull. Not really sure how much I can come back from— but I came back from that." There's some things left out, like how he hadn't known he'd come back the first time, when he practically killed himself in an attempt to take him down. "Really wish I would have talked to you a few weeks ago. Like— back when I first met Elena, I guess. Right now… it feels like when it happens I— really won't have much time. Almost afraid to spend too much time away from the targets I know he's going after… makes it difficult to spend much time figuring out how to control myself. Though I guess an hour a day wouldn't hurt, if really want to try and help me."

"I'd like that," Cass nods, wrapping her hands around the steaming mug she's made for herself. "That's ultimately what I'd want to have happen. I…I'll be honest. I don't know how good at this I'll be. But, like you said. I feel like I have to do something." But, enough with self-deprecation, it's back down to business. "Yeah. I know. I kept meaning to call you after Alyssa gave me your number. And then when Jane gave me that information. But…so many things got in the way. More petty and personal than Sylar, but it seemed important at the time." The information about the times he died makes Cass' eyes widen more and more. "Wow. I…wow. That's amazing. That's…that's really a handy ability to have. So…you're like the indestructible man. You can't be killed." She shakes her head, trying not sound interested in such a morbid subject. But, really, it's amazing both medically and metaphysically. She smiles wryly. "Feels like your running on marathon on borrowed time. Yeah. I've had that feeling. No, I think that working on control would be a good idea. Especially if you think you're as dangerous as….you know…blowing us all up. Practice making perfect and all. I don't have my space quite yet. But if you're serious, and can spare the time, we could try something here." She frowns, looking around her mostly cramped back room. "Or back at my apartment. That'd have a bit more space."

The first parts just earn nods in response, and Peter takes another sip of the tea, showing his approval for her 'auto-pilot' choice. "Things happen," he does insert, to show his understanding, before… "That's one ability we don't want Sylar to get his hands on. That… or the ability to find people. But he seems to be obsessed with another woman right now, and she's the one I'm most concerned about. The other two he could go after… as far as I know the Company is keeping a close watch on them. Though I still drop in to check on one of those two anyway." One… he hasn't checked on yet. "Probably the only advantage I have over him right now… Keeps me alive, at least." Which would definitely be an advantage. "I've been working on… mind reading some. Because if I want to deal with anyone from the Company… I'd like to know for a fact that they're telling the truth. The meditation book I bought here helped some, but… still hurts. Sometimes doesn't work at all. But otherwise… you're right. The abilities I've used the most are the ones I'm best at." Pausing to take another drink, he adds a moment later, "Either place is fine. Certainly would like the help. I learned a lot when I had someone helping me before… 'til the Company scared him off."

"They do," Cass agrees quietly. Bonnie, though she has been hoping that something here will lead to treats finally gives up and curls up by Cass' chair while the woman pulls her legs up underneath her on her chair. "Finding people?" That's one that's new to her too. "Hm. So we need to help this person hopefully without going to the Company about it." Well, she doesn't really have any ideas on how to work through that one. "Hm. Yeah. Their default statement seems to be a lie," she says with a distinct frown. Taking a deep drink from her mug, she rests it on her knee. Mind reading. Finally an ability that she has heard is possible before. Maybe she should really just stop being surprised at what people can do. "Meditation is really a good starting point. It definitely helps regulate breathing and makes you focus on what really matters. By the sounds of it, you've absorbed a lot of abilities. Maybe we should try focusing on one a week to see if we can strengthen them." A pause while she thinks this over. "I, well, my phone got broken and I still haven't had the time to get a new one. I can call you from the store to set something up. Or we could just pick a time for you to show up." The mention of the Company scaring someone off from helping Peter before makes Cass thinks /that/ one over, too. "Well, I'm not planning on letting them scare me off of this. It's all too important."

"Think it'd be too late to for even the Company to help much… even if I knew for sure they weren't lying to me. I'd thought of it— thought they might be able to help. But…" Peter shakes his head, looking down into the tea. There's a far off look in his eyes, a hint of regret in his expression. "Didn't think I had a lot of time left. Didn't know anyone else I could really turn to— who had the resources and the information that would help me against Sylar. If I'd known you were coming up with an alternative…" He shakes his head, knowing that it's not really an issue anymore. "Want to count on others, help people… stop all these bad things from happening. But if people are going to believe in me… I need to improve myself. And I don't really think the Company is going to help me with that." Give him money, give him information… "And I wouldn't trust them to, even if they would. Don't— really know why, but… I trust you. Don't feel like you'd just be teaching me to wait around and use me to do something someday…" Taking another drink, he looks back up into her eyes afterwards, "One power a week sounds good. I'll try to find out when… other people will be looking after this person. I can probably do early mornings. Before dawn, maybe."

Cass frowns a little in her chamomile tea. "I wouldn't trust the Company with anything I cared about. Any group of people who think they have the right to usurp other people's rights don't deserve any sort of trust." As she's watching Peter, it's not hard for her to catch the hint of regret in his expression. And, well, he's not really hiding the fact that there's something else that he's not saying. "What would you have done if you'd have known I was coming up with an alternative?" She's curious, not accusing. Not that she really even has any sort of reason to be accusing of him. "I know. I think we all do. And with everyone, I think we'll be able to do it." As for him trusting her, she smiles a little sheepishly. "Thank you. And I promise, I'm not here to use you for anything. I just want to help. I feel like it's the least I can do what with you trying to protect everyone." She nods, already thinking forward to what she can do to try and test and control Peter's abilities. "Ugh. Dawn." She's not exactly a morning person, but this is for a good cause, so she'll force herself awake. "Then we're definitely doing this in Brooklyn. I don't know if I can actually force myself to make it to the store at that hour unless I just set up a cot and start sleeping here."

"More like what I wouldn't have done, Cass," Peter confesses softly, looking back down into his tea, before he takes a much more generous sizes sip, almost a gulp, really. "I started to make a deal with them. It's not signed yet, I'm going to have some lawyers look over it— wanted to be ready to read their minds… to weed out anything they weren't telling me— but I wanted to be able to do things with people, work with them, without fear of the Company swooping in, taking them prisoner, and erasing their minds. Shouldn't even be talking to you about this, but… if you already know about them, it doesn't really matter. The… one of the bosses of the Company offered me a… satelitte group, partially independant. Anyone who'd joins would be given amnesty, protection from mindwipe, won't be kidnapped… Don't know if I'll even go through with it anymore— only reason I could see to… would be to involve people they already know about. Even then… not sure it'll help with anything anymore." Letting out a sigh, the confession made, he stands up. "We can meet at your place. You'll just need to give me directions."

The confession completely startles Cass and she stares at Peter as if he's made pulling her leg. "You what?" Deals with the Company are not the way to go, in her mind. She wants little to nothing to do with them and now to find out the Man With the Plan is sort of in league with them is sort of crushing. However, it doesn't sound like he's really a willing accomplice. This requires more thinking and some re-evaluating. "Yeah, they'll grant amnesty to you and whoever works with you, but what about everyone else?" She knows that he has yet to sign the contract, but this is still a strange deal to hear about. "I don't know. I don't have any right to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. I just…I don't like the Company. I don't like what they do and I don't like their attempts to manipulate and kidnap my friends. I don't want to fight them, but I don't want to have much to do with them, either." When he stands, she does as well. And so does Bonnie, tail wagging. "That's fine. It's pretty easy to get to by subway." Figuring that this little meeting is about done with, she starts walking into the main room of the store to let him out. This whole deal doesn't change the fact that she promised to help him. "Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Petrelli."

"I understand. The Company has done more than a few terrible things to people I care about," Peter responds, understanding her dislike of the plan, which hadn't even been his to begin with. "Don't know what will happen with this. Sometimes I think it's the only way to work together to save the world without interference from them, other times… all I can worry about is what they'll ask me to do. What kinds of 'missions' they'll send us on. And worse… what would happen to those who did join me if I refuse one." It would seem the more he talks about this, the worse he feels about it. "If there's a place people can go to seek help besides them… and if I can stop Sylar without their help… then I… I really don't know." Sounds like he'd like to tear up the contract before even signing it. Expecially now. "I'm glad I did. Thank you for letting me in. And offering to help with my abilities." And focusing on one a week, they'd never run out of abilities to work with, most likely…

Cass frowns. "Yeah. I know the feeling." With Bonnie trailing behind the pair at a respectable distance, the store owner makes for the door. "Do what you have to do. It might be good to have people trying to change things from the inside as well a the outside. But, just don't ask me to join that part of what you do if you decide to go for it." She didn't mean to make Peter feel bad about his decision, but she's just like what Benjamin told him she was - opinionated. But there was no way he could have known what she was planning before they even met and she can't really hold his wanting to help against him. "Of course. Like you said, we've all got to work together to get through this. I'll talk to you soon about getting together again." Though she sure can talk confidently, if Cass can actually pull this off, she'll be quite excited.

"I wasn't planning to ask anyone who isn't already in deep with them," Peter responds, giving a small nod. "Just— I know she was put on Alyssa's list, so you might want to remove her. Elle. She might have put Bishop as her last name. But when you get this group together… don't include her." As he says this, there's another guilty look, lowering his eyes. "If I can, I'll send anyone who shouldn't be involved in what I'm doing towards you. Anyone who'd rather just mind their own business… who just wants help or support." Even the dog gets a small hint of a smile, though not as wide as when he entered. After all, he feels bad about some of his decisions. As he starts to go out of the door, he adds, "I look foward to your call."

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