2010-02-21: Pinky Promises



Date: February 21st, 2010


There's no rest for the wicked or the weary.

"Pinky Promises"

Petrelli Safehouse, Staten Island, NYC

Earlier in the day, a text for Gene: hey got away n got somthin 4 u can u meet me @ pete's?

It's a safe bet that whenever Lena is feeling guilty about something, she uses texts instead of calling. Confrontation just isn't her thing. The nerves are showing a little as she paces the place on Staten Island, walking from the front door to the back and spending a moment at each peering through the glass. Being home again means that there is a glorious supply of hot water; she's fresh from a shower and dressed in beatnik attire, skinny jeans with that black turtleneck. It's starting to fade from being washed, as is the dye job in her hair. A good half an inch of muddy roots are more pronounced for her hair still being wet. That's something else she'll have to do once time allows it.

Seeing nothing and no one at the back door, she pivots in stocking feet and wanders back up to the front of the house. The curtain at the window is twitched aside while she studies the street outside.
It is little surprise Gene is swiftly at Lena's door, as shown by the yellow Camaro that is in horrible condition. After all, it has been chaos in trying to figure out exactly went on their pier. Dead ends abound and Gene is trying his best to figure out if he needs to go to Africa or if he needs to focus his attention on the Protocol that threatens to doom a nation, if not the world.

Dressed in his black peacoat (new one to replace the one lost in the apartment explosion), Gene also has a pair of blue jeans and a simple sky blue t-shirt. He has a black messenger back, which is slung over one shoulder as he makes his way to known on Lena's door.

The door is yanked open before the genius' knuckles can connect, Lena there in the doorway giving Gene a very solemn look indeed. She glances past him at the street again before stepping back to wave him inside. Once there, with the door shut and the locks done up, comes the rush of words. "I swear to god I meant to call you sooner, Gene, it's been fucking insane here lately and I kind of crashed hard after I got back and Pete was okay, I slept for like forever 'cause I didn't know this before but I guess I get really seasick."

It's right about then that her breath runs out, leaving her studying the young man from a slightly downward angle. Hangdog. Another lungful of air is taken so she can add, "I'm sorry."

The door is opened and Gene is let inside. There is the awkward pause as he listens to Lena, who seems to be feeling a lot of different emotions. The young genius peers at her, as if trying to discern what she is saying, feeling, or something else entirely. However, when she finishes with her apology, he responds with silence. Instead, he responds with something else. A hug.

"You think… I'd be mad at you?" he replies, regardless or not if she returns the gesture. "You didn't want to get caught, I'm sure… I'm just glad that you got back. I should be the one apologizing to you. I promised I'd be able to protect you if you just did what I said and… I was wrong."

As often as she'd mentally played out the script of what might happen, an ambush hug never factored into it. He actually hugs a squeak of surprise right out of the young woman before wits are gathered. Then Lena's arms go around Gene and do their best to break a few ribs (lucky for him she's still recovering her puny strength). "For making more headaches," she explains, chin on shoulder. "Making you worry. It wasn't your fault, Gene. It was that guy from the van. His name's Samedi."

She draws back then, blue eyes big and guilt-stricken. "They still got the other chick. Sierra. I couldn't get her away. But I got a map, and names of places and…are you okay?"

"…The man from the van." The hug is static on Gene's end as he processes the information. "Samedi…" The question of his condition is ignored as he continues to compute the data. "I was hoping that Sierra would be with you," he states softly as he pulls away. Gritting his teeth, he shakes his head. "If you could tell me what happened, that would be great. If not, just tell me what you can. I don't pretend to understand what it might have been like, but the last thing I'd want to do is push after dealing with those people."

Lena steps back a little more, though her gloved hands linger a moment on the young man's shoulders. She searches his face for a moment before giving a single pale nod. Then she catches his elbow to draw him into the house, towards the living room. "I'm not gonna melt down telling you what happened, I promise. Fuck crying, it's a waste of time right now. Later maybe."

That guiding touch doesn't last long; once in the living room, she lets him go in order to plunk down on the couch and flip open the notebook on the coffeetable. Pages of what look like numbers, notes and chemistry symbols are turned past until she gets to the first sheet marked with her own handwriting. There's a rough map of what looks like an island, too. "I was at the hospital, sitting with Pete, and when I went out for something to eat the guy grabbed me. When I woke up we were at the docks. There were other girls, and guys with guns. He…he's like a goddamn god down there. Sells girls, weapons, drugs. I dunno why Sierra was there, I found her in the big metal box thing with me when I woke up after I got hit over the head."

Letting Lena speak for herself, Gene listens until he takes a seat beside Lena. "Sierra was with Emily… Apparently Alpha Protocol was down there for some reason, but the exact reason why? Not so sure," Gene points out as he walks with Lena. "I'm not sure if they went after you for a specific reason… Not sure if Samedi would remember you or not. Either way, it is possible he was targeting people with powers." A comforting thought for the young genius. Two different groups hunting Evolved. He looks over the notebook, just taking it and scanning it over. "Was he aware that you had abilities? If so, were there others that he knew about?"

"He remembered me," Lena confirms quietly. With the notebook stolen, she falls back into the cushions and pulls her knees to her chest, arms looped loosely around them. The map is titled "Dominican", marked with a small village symbolized by a church spire and "Good guys" written beside of it. The rest is a meandering maze of jungles, camps and stick figure bad guys with angry faces and big guns. Opposite that page is simply more of the chemical notationes; the handwriting looks male, certainly not Lena's.

"The one girl there couldn't do anything that I saw, she was just…gonna be used for something else. But he knows what I can do. What Sierra can do. I dunno what he was gonna use her for, but I was…he wanted me to practice on folks. I think I was supposed to make drugs for him till I got away. I met a guy, big black dude who wanted to take Samedi down. After I got out of the camp, he helped me get to the church where I got on a boat back here."

"Well, if he was planning on abusing people with powers, it's clear that we have to do something. This person that wanted to take Samedi down… What do you know of them?" Gene replies, still studying the notebook as the conversation continues. His attention remains on the chemistry notes, likely his next point of inquiry.

Lena finally tilts her head to actually look at what Gene is looking at. It's good to be on the same page, although her forehead crumples to see he's not appreciating the artistic merit of her map. "Him. It was a guy, tall, black, bald. Kind of nice, I guess, for someone who's wanting to kill someone else. He said it was his responsibility and he wouldn't let me stay to help. Not that I wanted to because I had shit to do here, like give you that. He didn't tell me what his name was." She pauses a moment before abruptly remembering, "Oh yeah, and he's like us. Had a necklace with the symbol on it, said his power was stopping other people's powers. It worked on me, anyway."

"Stopped people's powers. That sounds like… The Haitian if he was a big black man. He was supposed to be my bodyguard if I tried to stop things at Building 26." And with that, Gene places the notebook on the table. His elbows rest at upon hid upper legs, his hands folding together. Leaning forward with a distant stare, the Geek God grows completely silent.

"Haitian? Um. I guess, maybe. That's where they were gonna go after they got supplies on that island," Lena says with another gesture at the notebook. When it's set down, she sits up, feet on floor and spine set at a comfortable slouch. There's a touch of anxiety in the way she watches Gene, studying the man's expression. Silence makes for apprehension. He's given about thirty seconds of that before she just can't take it anymore. "Did I do something wrong? He told me I shouldn't stay, that I had stuff to do here and he was right. They were chasing me, tons of them, guys with guns and I almost got shot. I could have stayed, I guess, but…"

"This isn't about what you should have done," comes the swift response, which fast enough to be harsh. His tone instantly softens, as if growing apologetic for his emotional bout. "As selfish as it seems, this is all about what I need to do. We both owe that man for what he did for you, but the mess isn't handled. Sierra is there and I haven't done a damn thing for her. If he can block people's abilities, then all I'll need to do is team up with him and get this Samedi guy alone. Without his followers and without his powers, should be easy." Seemingly making up his mind, he stands up with his tone growing firmer. "I get some transport, meet with this church down there… They should be able to get me in touch with the Haitian if he is still down there. I'll talk with Peter, see if he can handle operations here… We don't have time to wait until we get back Sierra, we need to move now."

"Selfish?" He wouldn't have to look at her to know she's wearing her favorite lopsided smile. "Screw that, Gene. You're talking about heading down to a jungle full of drug dealers with guns bigger than they are. Here." Lena reaches down and sweeps the notebook off the table in order to offer it to him again. "I know the map is shit, but maybe it'll help a little. You can toss it after, it's just some crap I took off a different bad guy. If there's anything else I can do too…I mean that for real now too, Gene. Not just 'cause I feel like I owe you. I'm tired of this crap, people pushing us around. It's gotta stop and I want to help, okay? Wherever I can do the most good."

The notebook is taken. He tears off the chemical stuff to hand back. "First, I want you to try and take this to Cass at Enlightment. Tell her Gene needs this figured out. Chemicals aren't my thing. Also, you'll need to help keep their people motivated and organized. I can't hack into the government's systems anymore, my resourced limited to making bombs and modified tasers. My usefulless is done. This is time for you, Peter, everyone else with powers that can make a difference to do so. Down there in the jungles, quick wits and some hardware should be enough provided I can meet this Haitian. If not, I may have think of a more creative way to take him out." Hopefully he won't have to figure out ways to kill an instructible man, but hey, Gene's dealt with worse.

Placing the notebook into his messenger back, Gene turns back to face Lena. "As I said, this is my mess… Otherwise I wouldn't bother with this and focus on the work here. Peter will need a level head, someone to keep him from biting off more than he can chew. We will only get one shot at saving those people if we break them out, we'll have to make it count if you guys decide to do that."

"The lady married to the guy with the neat accent? Okay, I can do that." It's good to have a job, and Lena takes back those pages with open relief. A clear path ahead! Rejoice! For all of about two seconds before things get weird again. "Wait…organized? Me? Jesus, Gene…" The bridge of her nose is crinkled while she looks down at the papers, before folding them and shoving them into a rear pocket. "One of these days you're gonna have to tell me what I said to make you think I can do shit like that, but okay. I'll do what I can. I figure I can keep Pete from running off to do things by himself, anyway."

Then she's quiet for a minute, scrutinizing the young genius with a gaze that's gone shrewd and speculative. It's a look that jars oddly with the way she raises one hand, pinky finger crooked out. "You're gonna be careful and come back in one piece. Pinky promise. Then I'll let go, honest."

While Lena thinks she has to wait to know the qualitifications for Gene's trust, the young man decides to share them swiftly. "A good heart, but a hint of mistrust, and cautious and paranoid enough not to act unless it's absolutely needed." Gene frowns as he looks to the pinky outstretched to him. "My grandfather tells me never to make promises I can't keep, but I promise to do everything in my power to come back alive, unharmed, and with Sierra safe and sound…" He takes the pinky with his own at that, if Lena agrees the terms. "Sound good?"

He forgot to mention that she's also a rabid cheater. The pinky link, which Lena accepts, is used to pull Gene into another hug. "Sounds good. Because if you don't, I'll kick your ass. And you know I totally could with Arny out of action." This time the cinch is a brief one and she steps back, pulling on another of those crooked smiles. "Don't worry about us up here, I'll keep folks straight. We'll be okay, I promise." She at least has no qualms about making such vows. The implication is the same as the one he's sworn to.

The hug is returned, Gene careful to make sure cheek to cheek contact isn't given. After all, while Gene is sure Lena has soft facial skin, heading out high is likely not a good start. Stepping back as Lena does, the Geek gives a small smile in return to her own. "I should be back pretty soon. At the top, two weeks. If I think there is going to be delays, I'll send word through the church. If they are that good a lot, they should be more than willing to pass the word along. Unless there is anything else you needed…" Gene points toward the door with his thumb. "Destiny waits for no one, you know?"

Care is taken to assist in ensuring the lack of being doped up; Lena's taking no chances either. "They were, yeah. But…scared too, Gene. Everyone down there, scared of this one guy. He scared me, and you know I'm a total badass, so… Watch your back. Oh, and if you find that guy, the Haitian dude, tell him I got back safe and I owe him a Happy Meal." The young woman scoots ahead to get the door, undoing the series of paranoia-friendly locks before yanking it open. A casual glance wanders the world outside the welcome mat. "Don't take this the wrong way, man, but I love ya. I mean it when I say be careful."

Lena is followed by Gene, who listens and nods when it is time. When they get to the Final-Final Farewells, Gene gives a small smirk. "Of course you love me, I'm a sexy mandevil in geek form." There is a short pause as he realizes what he said wasn't nearly as awesome as he thought it was. "SavingTheDay,TalkToYouLater." And with that, he powerwalks toward his car. LIKE A TRUE HERO.

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