2008-01-26: Parallel Personae


Joule_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Summary: A chance encounter leads to a conversation surprising both parties in how many parallels there are drawn between them.

Date It Happened: January 26, 2008

Parallel Personae

Somewhere in Brooklyn

Bundled against the cold, his colorful scarf wrapped around his neck, Mohinder stuffs his hands into his coat pockets. Exiting his apartment building, he steps out onto the sidewalk. It's fairly early in the day so it could be that he's heading to work. Or possibly not. There is quite a bit of work and correspondance piling at the Company funded labs, yet he's also waiting for word from Charlotte at Pinehearst. Which way to go? Track down Charlotte, do actual work, or wander and think?

Joule is coming up the street toward her apartment, actually. She's not wearing a colorful scarf against the cold, so much as she's defiantly wearing one of the long, black and white ones some idiot talk show host equated with terrorists. There's a spring in her step and money in her pocket. There's even a little tan on her face from a week spent on the sunny west coast. Things are finally looking up for her, and only one major task she's set for herself remains unresolved…which tugs at the corners of her smile, leaving her frowning pensively.

Aware that he's standing about like an idiot, Mohinder mumbles an apology and steps back towards his building so that he's not just blocking the sidewalk. From his pocket, he withdraws the slip of paper given to him by Molly just over a year ago. The star drawn in crayon makes him smile, and it's carefully folded and pocketed once more. Something about the drawing seems to make up his mind and he pushes away from the building.

Joule hadn't stopped walking, but did nearly walk into Mohinder. Over her shades, one brow goes up. Decorative; she doesn't object to him standing still, given he's so aesthetically pleasing. "No worries, mate," she tells him, about to step aside.

Before she can, though, a young man in a black Aeropostale hoodie and acid-washed jeans shoves in front of her, running. "Oi! Watch it, you tosser!" Joule snarls after him, and then goes wide-eyed as a middle aged woman screams from down the block, "He's got my purse! Oh, God! Somebody help! Stop him!" Joule glances at the mugging victim, and then back after the runner. "Oh, hell no," she says. "Hold this a minute, luv, that's a good one, thanks." With no further preamble, she's handed her heavy camera bag to Mohinder and turned to give chase!

Mohinder doesn't make it more than a few steps from the building when there's the screaming. He has on him his Company issued weapon, but it wouldn't be advisable to pull that out in public. Unless it's necessary. If he can avoid questioning by authorities, that would be the best thing. Yet, he's not just going to stand by, even when Joule thrusts her camera bag at him. "Pardon?" he asks, holding the bag with a faintly stunned expression on his face. It doesn't last long before he's hanging onto the bag and chasing after Joule.

The teenager is trying the dodge-and-weave thing. He's aware he's being chased, and he pulls a trash can down behind him. Despite the high heels, nimble Joule hops over it, and grabs the lid to fling after him. "Sodding toerag!" she yells after him, straightening her shades.

Mohinder has heard more colorful language.. with British accents and in Hindi.. and well.. just being in New York City, oh the things you hear. Doing his best to catch up to the woman chasing the fleeing purse snatcher, he keeps a hold onto the camera bag.

"Damn it," Joule swears, unabashedly, as the kid stumbles, but doesn't go down. She throws the trashcan lid, shouting, "Oi! Heads up! Somebody trip the fucking kid already, would you?!"

Mohinder catches up to Joule, breathing heavily. He's in decent shape, but not up to running down people as other agents are. He's more suited to working in the lab. His eyes widen slightly at the chucking of the trash lid. "Excellent toss." Joule must have a mean arm in cricket or rugby.

Joule grins at Mohinder, and then glances up the block as the kid has gone sprawling into a parking meter, banging his head as Joule's improvised weapon catches him in the back of the head. Two big burly types have already taken the stunned kid in hand, and one more is on his way to bring the woman back her purse. Good. That means her good deed is done, and no paperwork.

She tilts her head at Mohinder, and shrugs. "Thanks, luv," she tells him. It's more she was just a hellion growing up, really. "And I'll have that back now." She reaches for her gear.

Mohinder hands the camera bag back over to Joule. "Do you do this often? Emasculating purse snatchers in broad daylight?" He glances over at the other good samaritans keeping the would be thief rather contained. "Although, I dare say he did not see that coming."

Joule lowers her shades and bats her eyes at Mohinder. "Emasculating? Hardly that," she assures him. "If I'd emasculated him, he'd be screaming, wouldn't he?" She says this with a completely straight face, as if she might have done something more literal to the purse snatcher if she'd been close enough. "And hopefully, it'll be a lesson to the little punk." She turns and shakes a fist at him. "Get a bleedin' job, you git!" The big burly guys grin at her and drag him up the street, presumably toward the nearest police officer, car, or precinct.

"But let me buy you a cuppa for making you hold my stuff, hmm?" Joule asks, turning her attention back to Mohinder.

Mohinder laughs a little, with a slight nervous edge to it. Frightening woman. In a few ways. "Unfortunately, some never learn." Yet there's always hope. Not wanting to offend the woman, he nods. "Of course Miss..?" Before he can proceed with asking the woman's name, his cellphone rings. "I apologize.. one moment please." He pulls out his phone, masking his expression when he sees the caller id and answers, "Suresh speaking.." He pauses as he listens to his caller then, "Very well. I shall be in shortly. Have her chart out and waiting for me please? And no, I don't need a car sent for me, I'm just running behind today." Hanging up, he smiles apologetically at Joule for the call.

Joule cultivates being frightening. She's very sweet when you get to know her; but she's still frightening even then. "Well, hope springs eternal," she says, tucking her bag back over her shoulder. She's about to speak her name, when his phone rings. Understanding the need to take calls and not finding it as rude as some might, she contains herself while he answers. And then he says his name. And her mouth drops open. That is not a common name. But it's a name she's been hoping to run across. "No fucking way," she breathes to herself as he has his quick little phone conversation, schooling her face to a polite expression as he returns his attention to her. "Joule. Joule Dahanukar." She extends a hand, glad that her shades cover the hope that's suddenly lit in her eyes.

"Quite so. I fear for the day when we do lose hope," although Mohinder's having some dark moments clouding his mind as of late. "It's a pleasure Miss Dahanukar. Suresh.. Mohinder Suresh." To clarify which one he is. "There's a quaint shop in the neighborhood that has excellent tea and a rather good selection." Judging by Joule's accent, he suggests the tea.

He said it. He said Mohinder. But she's had years of practice looking calm and innocent when she'd rather scream and jump up and down. So she shakes his hand, and nods. "Tea sounds perfect, actually, how did you know?" Using her ability always leaves her a bit peckish. "And a good tea shop is a rare treasure in this city, honestly!" Now — how to broach the subject? She gestures at him to lead on.

Mohinder shakes Joule's hand before gesturing in the direction of the shop. "I found the shop on accident. I prefer to brew it myself in general." Then forget the pot was steeping and the tea then grows cold. Which happens frequently when he's busy. Which is almost always. "Lucky guess? I've yet to meet anyone with a British accent who isn't fond of tea." It's just one of those things.

Joule chuckles. "As do I, but who has time?" she admits. "Even when I slum and make it American style, I forget the cup's in the microwave for an hour, and then it's ruined and I have to start all over. Such a waste." She shakes her head. "Plus, though, I could always find a new place to pick out unusual teas. And good ear. You have no idea how many people think my accent's from any number of other places." This seems to have impressed her. As does the shop. She breathes in appreciatively as they enter and the aromas of brewing tea reach her.

Mohinder blanches, "The microwave? Oh no. That I think is one of the sins of tea making." Give the man a kettle please. Electric or old fashioned. "But I do know what you mean about time, and forgetting that it's steeping. If it's not one thing, it's another." He holds the door open for Joule, following in after her. "Some people are just not very good at picking up accents. I've yet to visit Great Britain, but I am from an area with colonial accents."

"It's only when I'm desperate, honest," Joule says, as Mohinder looks appalled at her. "You can't really call what you get 'tea' if you make it that way." She laughs. "It's a book cover thing, I'm sure. I look Indian, so they assume I'm from India." She raises a brow, though, sensing an opening as Mohinder tells her he's from an area with colonial accents. "Were you? I spent some time in India, actually, assisting my father with some research."

Mohinder laughs and nods as he escorts Joule to a table, pulling out a chair for her. "Aah, an escapee to England then? Eventually I will visit there, if I can ever get out of my lab long enough." He waits for Joule to be seated before he settles into a chair himself. "Madras originally, then I was teaching at Chennai University before coming here to New York. What did your father research? Your surname isn't familiar with me."

"No, you have it backward," Joule tells him. "I grew up in and around London. Only recently in India." She settles daintily into a chair, winding her bag's strap into an elaborate knot so it's not easy to snatch. "My father was researching genetics," she explains in answer to his question. "Ashwath Dahanukar?" she adds, hopefully. "He'd planned to share his research with another Dr. Suresh, only to find he'd only recently left the country." That facade of cheerful badass shimmers and fades slightly. The shades are off now, on the table, and her eyes lower faintly. "I promised Dad I'd follow his dream for him."

Mohinder laughs, "My apologies then." He sits up straighter than leans over the table in Joule's direction as she mentions her father's name. "Ashwath Dahanukar? I know the name. He's one of the few in our field that comes close to what my father and I have theorized." Which isn't a theory so much anymore. "My father did not mention Dahanukar. He didn't mention much of anything when he left India for New York." His tone sobers and becomes subdued when he mentions his father. "Looks like we have a few things in common." It takes a moment for him to catch onto his own words and realization, then, "So.. you believe in your father's work? What he theorized? What myself and my father are researching?" It's still a little taboo to talk about powers and abilities in public.

Joule hides the shaking of her hands by closing the menu and setting it down. His father? She glances up at him, almost in disbelief of her good fortune after all this time. "Your father? You're…Chandra Suresh's son?" She fixes her gaze solemnly on Mohinder, but for once is stricken speechless. All she can do is nod mutely in response to his questions.

Mohinder inclines his head in a nod. "My father believed strongly in his work. He came here to New York, following a lead on a person. After he grew tired of the ridicule.. which I am sure you and your father can understand. It's not easy being one of the few willing to stand up and speak about controversial topics." He glances around the shop before settling his gaze on Joule once more, "Is your father still in India, researching?"

It's an emotional moment for Joule. She'd imagined this in her head going differently. She imagined he'd scoff. Or dismiss her. She imagined she'd fling herself into his arms, relieved to find him. But now, it's taking her a second to summon up enough saliva to speak. "I …I see," she says, voice gone uncharacteristically soft. "And…no, Dr. Suresh. I'm afraid not. You see, he came to New York in search of your father…" it's so painful to think the next words, let alone speak them aloud again so soon after the holidays. Instead Joule allows the arrival of the waiter stall her from having to. "English Breakfast, please. And a blueberry scone with clotted cream if you have it."

"Chai please," Mohinder quietly requests of the waiter. He'll add his own sugar and milk to taste. His attention remains on Joule, quiet, patient, sympathetic. "He did?" This takes him a little by surprise. Not many people beyond the evolved worked to track down his father. Or himself. (The Company and Pinehearst remain in their own categories.) "What happened to your father?" he asks kindly in a way that says she doesn't have to answer if she's not ready. The woman's expression seems to tell him the answer.

Joule summons the courage, now that the waiter has come and gone. She just needed a breath. "He arrived here a little over a year ago, but unfortunately, I lost him." She pauses, realizing she's winding her napkin into a tight spiral, and forces herself to stop. "It was a break-in. My father chases a man whose work he admires halfway around the world, and then …it's almost like something you'd see on some television drama, isn't it?" She summons up a wan smile for Mohinder. "So, that's why I was hoping to find Dr. Suresh." She seems to realize or remember something, and changes visibly what she'd planned to say. "…and now that I have, it seems offering you my respects are in order as well." A polite duck of her head.

Mohinder falls quiet as Joule speaks, his own head lowering in respect. "I'm sorry to hear about this. Has the culprit ever been apprehended?" Now to only make this a weirder string of coincidences.. would be for Joule to say Sylar was behind her father's demise. He's at a loss as to what to say. "I do know what you mean by a drama. The person my father sought to study, to help.. He lost control of himself, of his gifts and murdered my father."

Thankfully, Sylar was not involved in this particular horrible event. Joule isn't even aware of the serial killer except as a name she's occasionally heard on the news. "Yes," Joule says, quietly, but with a savage satisfaction. "I identified him. Made the statement to the constabulary. Testified. And he is currently serving his sentence." His sentence that's two or three lifetimes too short and still won't bring her father back. "Oh. Oh, that's terrible, Dr. Suresh. I'm very sorry. That must have been such a blow." Odd parallel, that; she doesn't comment, but there's a certain shrewdness in her eyes that indicates she finds it really weird as well.

"Good.. at least justice has been served for your father," Mohinder states firmly. "I'm glad to hear of it. Your father may not be brought back, but at least his killer is behind bars." Not wanting to compare the situations or swap sob stories, he shakes his head. "Time hasn't lessened the pain, but it's something that I have to live with. It was indeed a blow. Justice has yet to catch up with the killer. It will. Sooner or later, in this lifetime or the next. That much I believe."

Joule smiles at Mohinder, reaching to companionably clasp his shoulder. His poetic way of speaking seems to have stricken a resonant chord with her. "I believe you're right. Great evils in this world cannot go unpunished if there's to be balance in the universe. But we digress. You were asking if I believe in my father's research, yes? Too right, I do. I'm no brilliant scientist myself, but he was right. I am certain of it."

Mohinder's smile is a little forced. He believes in the karma he was taught by his grandmother, her stories of deities, the afterlife.. None of that will happen soon enough to Sylar to satisfy the geneticist. "I'm sure if your father were alive today, he would be proud of you.. and proud to know as my father did.. what they theorized turns out to be very true. I was skeptical before I learned of my father's death, I'm ashamed to admit that. Then I found myself caught up in continuing his research and discovering that his work has merit. Our fathers were ahead of the curve." He's not going to say it aloud, but perhaps their deaths were timely and planned by some higher power. Who knows what would have become of either man if they were caught up in the same tangled web Mohinder finds himself in.

Joule is astonished that a tear has rolled down her face in response to Mohinder's words. Embarrassed, she picks up her mangled napkin and dabs at her eyes. "They were," she agrees. "It was my mother's death years ago that made him so convinced that there was something in the …" she hasn't the terminology, the precision. She said she was no scientist. "The genetics, that would be the next step in human evolution." She puts the napkin down, though, and meets Mohinder's eyes again. "I wish he could've lived to see he was right. I suppose he might've suspected it." After all, she proved him right by striking his murderer blind on the spot before her father died in her arms. "What can I do now to help you? I have his notes, though if you've picked up where your father left off — it might not be anything you don't already know."

Mohinder appears faintly uncomfortable when Joule tears up. Grabbing up a napkin of his own, he hands it across to her. Perhaps a little slow, it's still the thought. "I think your father might have known deep down that he was right. No matter what his peers said to his face or behind his back. Just as my father did. He grew weary of the comments, but never let it sway him. It ruined his career, but he knew he was right. He had irrefutable proof in his possession. Taped interviews, documentations, xrays, various tests on the nervous system.. Two years after his passing, and I've met so many gifted individuals, witnessed with my own eyes.." He reaches across the table to take Joule's hand reassuringly, "I would be honored to see your father's notes."

Joule smiles appreciatively as he hands her the napkin, even belatedly. Hers is twisted into nothing now. "My father did know," she confirms. "He was dauntless. I believe that his research was all that kept him going after Mum's death. And yes — that was what we heard before we came to New York. That he had been all but a laughingstock. He was furious that people were dismissing Dr. Suresh's ideas as nonsense and poppycock." A certain timbre her voice takes on indicates she's probably unconsciously imitating her father's word choice and cadence. "He was certain they would've done great things together." She beams at him as he takes her hand. "I'll be certain to get them to you," she assures him. "I can…give you my card." She seems to remember, belatedly, he has somewhere to be. And she's embarrassed to be all misty-eyed like some schoolgirl meeting a rock star. "I shouldn't hold you up any longer."

"Our work is still ridiculed. I'm /still/ dismissed by those more mainstream. I know the truth, and I'm .. I'm fine with this. I accept that they refuse to see, to believe what is around them." Mohinder's hand tightens once on Joule's before withdrawing. "They would have.. and after what I've seen.. perhaps it's for the best that not everyone is prepared to accept the facts and live in denial. It's in human nature to be afraid of what is different, to fear what amounts to a leap of faith." He starts to withdraw his card, then thinks better of it. Instead, he writes down his home address and phone number on a piece of paper for Joule. "It's safer to converse at my home." No sooner than those words leave his mouth, he finds himself second guessing Joule and her intentions. Is she sent by that madman who calls himself a scientist? Is this another attempt by Pinehearst to tempt him to their side? "Our tea hasn't arrived yet, and my associates can wait. This feels.. more worthwhile." As opposed to methods he finds questionable with the Company.

"Plato was put to death for trying to change the way people thought. So was Gallileo," Joule says, solemnly. She catches her breath as Mohinder squeezes her hand. "It's an awful trait of human nature for us to fear change, and try to crush anything that challenges us." There's a faint smile as she speaks almost the same as Mohinder. With a shake of her head, she presses on. "It must be frustrating for you. It would be for me, at any rate. I'm not patient enough for the work." She accepts the piece of paper and gives him her card. It's a very simple card with the address of the street she was heading toward before this whole string of coincidences began. She knows nothing of madmen or Pinehearst. "As you like," she replies, smiling with relief he isn't planning to dash off. Inwardly she's telling her father she kept her word.

Mohinder smiles just a little and gives a nod of his head. "I wouldn't entirely call it an awful trait, but it does have its drawbacks." He settles back in his seat, and falls quiet as the tea is brought out and Joule's scone. No need to alarm the staff with your above average NYC crazy talk. "It can be frustratingly, but fortunately, I have a well of patience." Until he feels like he's up against a brick wall. He's finding it difficult to keep up his guard and caution around the woman. Wanting to believe there's no malice in this chance meeting.. and that it's just that. Chance. "My lab associates can wait for me a little longer. The work today doesn't exactly require my presence. I'm afraid my work has reached the point of being mundane and routine." There's less and less actual research.

Joule would be completely horrified if she knew Mohinder were trying to fight off suspicions about her. She's pretty much a shoot-from-the-hip sort of girl, and has no clue of situations from his past, like that of Eden. She'd also be disgusted. Ridicule is bad enough, but people seeking to use him? "Perhaps," she allows. "You're more gracious than I am. Growing up with a distracted dad, I didn't really develop the patience and grace until …quite recently." She gives the waiter a brilliant smile as he returns with her tea, scone, and clotted cream. "I still haven't got quite as good a grasp on it as I'd like." She tilts her head at his description of work growing mundane. "Really? Are you working to isolate the traits that would help mankind most? Healing abilities? Regeneration, and like that?" It's what her father would have done; and what would seem most practical. But he might prefer profit.

Mohinder takes a sip of his tea, smiling more freely as Joule speaks. "I know what you mean. My own father.. spent his whole life distracted. Sometimes it felt like an uphill battle with him." As the questions continue, his expression falters and he lowers his cup to its saucer. "I try to do that in my spare time. Unfortunately.. other matters have been occupying my time." An almost reckless feeling of throwing caution to the wind creeps in, and he tries to keep it restrained. "My employers.. those that are funding my research and in return I work for them.. I'm finding myself questioning their motivation towards those with gifts and abilities. Currently, I'm working on finding a way out so that I can better focus my attention on doing something worthwhile with my knowledge.. To further help mankind in general."

Joule can't help but return Mohinder's smile. He's got that sort of open face that fosters trust at a subconscious level. "That's …" what? Very sad? Yes. It is, tht their fathers were both too distracted by their research. Very strange, that it's yet another coincidence between them? That too. "a shame," is what she finishes the sentence with, though, because she remembers well being the lonely, angry child who just wanted her dad.

Mohinder goes on to describe what he's been up to instead of working to use the knowledge from his father to help the world, and Joule sighs. "The shackles of contractual work to the nth power," she says, understandingly. "I'm no lawyer, but if you can think of a way I can assist, please consider me at your service." By way of honoring her father's dream, no doubt. Then again, the woman may just be that reckless if she's willing to chase down muggers in the street.

Mohinder remembers that part of his childhood as well. "Indeed.. and no.. I don't want to bring anyone into this that I don't have to." Which means it's stickier than anything should legally be. He picks up his cup, taking a few more drinks of his tea. "I'll make time to meet with you again. I'll even let you see my father's files, my lecture materials." He's oblivious to the fact that 99.9 percent of women just might be bored or even offended at the depth of science discussion and materials.

"Fair enough," Joule tells Mohinder. "But please do consider that an open-ended offer, even outside your research. If you need me to help you scan books. Or chase down leads. Or move a piano." Another brilliant smile follows that remark; it's outlandish and she knows it, but she hopes it playfully underscores the sincerity of the offer. "I'm afraid a lot of your research would probably go over my head, though. Way over. I'm a musician. A photojournalist. The wiring isn't quite right to grasp what's simple for minds like yours."

Mohinder laughs and raises a hand to rub slightly at his jawline. He looks just a little embarrassed as he finishes his tea. "I.. think I might actually need to look into an assistant. Even if it's just for correspondance and messages. Things have gotten rather chaotic and I've declined the help of an intern or assistant through my employers." Trust issues, and he prefers working alone, yet some things just can't be ignored.

"I'm brilliant with the correspondence," Joule admits. "A positive side effect of the distracted dad thing." Having to pay the bills and fend off the creditors, yada yada. And she wouldn't need to know what the heck Mohinder's talking about to transcribe from a voice recorder to coded notes. She did it for her own father. "I'm sure we could come to some agreement. I'm mostly freelance these days, so my schedule's rather flexible."

What of making sure said distracted person stops to eat? "I think that would be delightful. I prefer working alone, but due to unforeseen circumstances as of late.. my inbox just keeps growing and growing." Finishing his tea, the cup is set back into the saucer. "It was a pleasure to meet you Miss Dahanukar." Even if he's disliking the feeling of suspicion he's getting. He used to be so naively trusting of people. "I should probably get to the lab, before they send the hounds," he says with a slight smile, even if he means that literally.

Oh, yes. Joule's an excellent cook and could definitely make sure that a distracted person didn't keel over from lack of nourishment. Joule has made short work of the scone. Tiny little bits devoured with a practiced quickness. The tea isn't quite gone yet, but almost. "Likewise, Dr. Suresh. But please, it's Joule." Yes. Joule. Unit of energy. Daddy was a scientist. "It is a shame you have to take off, but I look forward into speaking with you again." At his home, where she can tell him that which she wouldn't mention in a tea shop, no matter how lovely or cozy.

Mohinder rises from his seat, and laughs as there's a delay in understanding of the play on the woman's name. "I look forward to hearing from you again, that is unless I'm able to contact you first." He's second guessing the suspicions that crept in. There's something about Joule that makes her easy to talk to.. Much like how he found Eden. (Then again, she turned out to be a Company operative.) "Until we meet again Joule." Did she say she was going to buy him a cuppa? Too late, he's already set cash down on the table before he turns to leave.

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