2008-01-26: Promises


Church_icon.gif Elle_icon.gif

Summary: Church returns Elle's frantic phone call from the night before, finding her more sedate - but just as worried, and still looking for his help.

Date It Happened: January 26th, 2008


Peter Petrelli's Apartment & Lawrence Church's Apartment - NYC

One thing about being so technologically aware, is that you use electronics all the time. At one point, Lawrence left his phone on during the end of a call, and so the battery waned out until it simply failed to ring for almost a day. And here he thought that nobody loved him anymore! Nope. Just the phone. After the adventure of a recharge, the first order of business is callbacks.

Fortunately, there is only one of many messages that he has to return; Elle's message and the new number attached to it yanked his attention out of the clouds and back down to earth. Now he is calling her back from the corner of some little off-the-street coffeeshop downtown, having found a safer spot to do so than his office or his home. Lawrence went through the trouble of letting her get away with bumps and bruises, and so he is not about to try their collective luck again. Ring ring!

The phone startles Elle out of her reverie, and she leaps up from the sofa in Peter's apartment, disrupting the dog that had curled up in her lap. There are very few people who have the number to this phone, and any one of them calling suggests something urgent - so she scrambles to reach it before the ringing can stop. Hitting the button to answer the call, she presses it to her ear, suddenly realizing her racing heart now that she's standing still. "Hello?"

He seems to pause when he hears Elle's voice, the other end of the line abruptly sounding an intake of breath. "Elle?" And he breathes out her name. "Are you okay?" Is his first question, spoken with a quavering moment of worry. Not 'what did you want', or 'what's wrong'. It's gone past that point.

"I'm okay," Elle echoes in response, and for once, she sounds like she might mean it. Or she would, if it weren't for that very faint tinge of concern, and the way that she emphasizes I'm in a strange way. "It's D— my father. Gabriel told me the Company wanted to talk to me, so I called him last night." She pauses for just a moment, as if she's expecting him to understand what she isn't saying— and then it all falls out, her words coming quickly, stumbling over each other. "He's missing. We were talking, and then there were these two loud cracks, and then he was just gone. I called everyone I could think of to go and check on him. Everyone whose number I remembered."

Church is drawn in during that pause, having rested his head on his knuckles, and his elbow on the small table he is sitting at. The concentrated look on his face is enough to set him apart in the small place.

"Gone? Cracks like a gun? Wood?" Lawrence tracks back in thought for a few seconds. "Who did you call? They must be keeping quiet over here- this is the first I heard of it, Elle." His voice sounds tentative, but only out of habit with strange news. This wouldn't be the first thing that they've kept on a need-to-know or behind a curtain.

"You, Wolfe," Elle replies, listing off the agents she tried to call first. "I was going to call Winters if I had to, but Niel picked up. He went to my father's office, but no one was there. He said it didn't look like anyone was shot." And that's the one tiny bit of hope she's clinging to, because it's all she has. Hesitating just slightly, her next words are slow and calculated. "He suggested a teleporter. I can only think of one who makes a sound like that when she jumps."

Yes. Exactly. Church knows this even before Elle starts to say it, and even while she finishes he has gone quiet on the other end of the line. The table under his hand and arm have gotten quite hot.

"I've never known any other." He sounds like he is wearing a frown- and he is. "She knows exactly how to find him, and she's good at getting in and out." That is why for years, Mariska was on some Lists. "How… how exactly do you want me to help, Elle?" Do you want him to confront the Russian, group up and investigate, hope Bob just comes back…?

With the phone still pressed to her ear, Elle paces the length of the kitchen, dragging her fingers back through her hair as she considers his words. What had she been expecting from him, anyway? "I…" Now, now her facade is beginning to crack. Her voice takes on a tragic, childish quality when she speaks again, like a little girl who thinks she's lost her parents in a store instead of the other way around. "I don't know. I just want someone to find him." Because at the end of the day, no matter what he has done to her, he is her father - and she has big, bad Daddy Issues.

Drawing in a deep breath, she leaves the kitchen to stand in the doorway to the living room, her gaze settling on Gabriel's sleeping form. "I need to know if you find anything out. I know I'm not at the top of the priority list when it comes to updates, but I— I need to know, Lawrence."

Church knows this better than anyone, it feels like. He grits his jaw just a bit when Elle's voice changes, silently wishing that this wasn't a phone call, but an actual conversation, face-to-face. "I know that, Elle." Despite the initial confusion at what to do for her, Lawrence sounds as if he has started making a list already. "I'll do what I can, alright? If he's missing, then I'm going to hear about it again. If something develops, you'll be the first person I call." There are times when Church doesn't like Bob Bishop more than usual. This is one of them.

When she steps into the living room, Elle picks up the knitted blanket she'd let fall to the floor in her haste to reach the phone and settles back into the sofa, curling up against the arm and wrapping the throw around herself. "Thank you," she says quietly, her voice just loud enough to carry over the line. "I'll let you… I won't get in your way." Because as much as she might like to think otherwise, they really are better equipped to find him than she is. As she beckons the dog back up onto the sofa with a pat to the cushion, she says, "I should go. Thanks for calling me."

Quick, dummy, she's going! Church falters in his brain functions for the seconds where Elle is curling up on the couch under her blanket again. "I thought I'd never hear your voice again." Well, that's one thing to drop. But, if she really has to go- "Take care of yourself, angel."

"I know." Resting her head against the arm of the sofa, Elle draws the blanket up over her shoulder, looking back to the television that plays an awful soap opera at a low volume. "I thought so, too." The little nickname elicits a smile that he won't see, but some aspect of it carries over to her voice when she speaks next. "I always take care of myself, gramps. Don't worry about me."

Church smiles too, and it mimics well enough. "I'm not your gramps." FYI, btw. "I'll always worry about you. That's my other other job." Where he was comfortable telling Gabriel that Elle was like his blood, somehow he is not able to say the same to her; maybe it has something to do with the fact that her real father is now missing, apparently.

"Don't take your job too seriously then, Larry," Elle teases in response, winding a lock of hair around her fingers as she speaks. She's quiet for just a second or two, her demeanor sobering some as she struggles with the realization of just how much she misses him. "I'm okay," she says again, as she did before, only this time it's without stress; her voice is meant to be reassuring, even in the face of her father missing. "I'll talk to you soon, okay?"

You never really know what you're missing til it's gone, right? She's not the only one missing someone. "Alright, Elle." Church may soon be repeating himself, but it's for a perfectly good reason. "I love you, kiddo. Take care." Just one last parting note.

"Love you, too." As she pulls the phone away and presses in a button to end the call, Elle lets out a quiet breath. She isn't quite to the point of questioning her decision to leave the Company, but there are some things which make that decision very hard - and leaving behind people she cares about is one of those things. She leans forward to set the phone down on the coffee table, then stretches out on the sofa, hugging the pillow beneath her head.

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