2008-02-03: Return to Oz


Church_icon.gif Elle_icon.gif

Summary: Church is sent to Mount Sinai Hospital to retrieve Elle and bring her to Angela. Elle isn't quite in top form.

Date It Happened: February 2nd, 2008

Return to Oz

Mount Sinai Hospital - NYC, NY

Traditionally, Elle Bishop has not considered Mount Sinai Hospital to be an optimal place to rest her head for any significant length of time. In light of the last few days, however, the relative peace and quiet of the hospital is a welcome change; she lies in the bed, covered in a sheet but for one leg - her left, in a cast. Even with the knowledge that the Company will undoubtedly be coming for her soon, she rests her head back against the pillow, her eyes closed. An IV drips colourless liquid into the line, working its way into her bloodstream through her hand.

Even in her less than coherent state, Elle could have already guessed someone they might send. That question is only answered once her room's door opens to admit Lawrence, fresh from the chilly outside and still carrying that cold smell on his coat. As the man slips into the room opposite Elle in her bed, he rests his gaze first on her injured leg before her face.

"…Are you awake?" Voice soft, Church steps in the rest of the way, making sure the door is shut tightly behind him. In this case, he even let the nurses know to not disturb them. How awkward is something like that?

"I don't know if this counts as awake," Elle replies in a slow, lazy voice, turning her head on the pillow to open her eyes just enough to make out Church's form near the door. A smile breaks across her face when she finally convinces herself that her visitor is, in fact, Church. She had to wait for his edges to become less blurred and foggy. Raising her hand from the bed, vaguely aware that her fingers feel several times heavier than normal, she reaches out to try and beckon him towards her. "Heeeey, you."

Church stays still, having duly noted the fact that this pain medication can make things a bit- out of focus. You only need to be shot once to know that. Once that smile delivers, he matches it with his own and moves forward, slipping out of his coat as he does so. Lawrence intends to stick around, leaving that coat on a nearby chair.

Seeing Elle on painkillers is funny enough, but there is a sobering air at the back of Church's head nonetheless. One of the other chairs he pulls closer to the bed, taking his quiet time in getting closer and sitting down at the edge of his seat. "Hey, Angel." the agent finally speaks again, now lower, close by, and lifting his right hand to find that one she has tried to move with little results to show.

As Church settles into a seat beside the bed, Elle curls her hand into his, drawing in a slow breath. "They sent you," she says, an astute observation, as the corner of her mouth pulls up into another lazy smile. Her hand squeezes his in a way that she thinks might be hard but may, in reality, hardly be worth noticing. This is a very strange state to be in - but it's a welcome respite from the endless tears and wallowing she's been caught up in. "Are you supposed to take me back now?"

Church keeps taking his time, hand curling around her smaller one. When he does look back at Elle's face from her leg, it is with a sigh on his shoulders and a crease between his eyes. "Yeah. I am. But obviously not right now. Angela said that she only wanted to talk to you, face to face." Whatever that means. For now, though, he tries to mostly concentrate on Elle. "I'd ask how you're feeling, but that would be dumb, huh?"

"Back to my cage," Elle murmurs, her voice taking on a slight sing-song quality, as she rolls her head back in the other direction. "I'm not going back. I'll talk to her, but I'm not staying." Her stubborn personality, shining through. "I feel like…" Her mind is full of static, and a frown appears on her face as she grasps for the appropriate words. In a sense, the pain medication is facilitating her admission, as she isn't able to become nearly as agitated as she otherwise might. But it's also forcing her to take her time. "…like I'm lost and watching someone else's life. It doesn't feel real. It's like when I dream about being little and the machines." Pause. "I brought her back her gun and she shot me with it."

That's not what the report said. Church grunts at that proclamation, leaning his other elbow onto the bed, and his head in his hand. "She did seem awful antsy in the car." Looking back, it is easy to say he should have known. "She said you could bring me, when you went to talk with her. If you wanted to. I don't know what-" His head stays in his hand for now. "-what she really wants. I don't know what she wants to do now. I don't want them to put you away, either, Elle." And he will make sure they know that, as best he can. She can take care of her power going haywire- she has done it before. Maybe if they assign him to help her make sure, there won't be any Level Five. These things are filing bit by bit through Lawrence's head, and so he ends up quiet for a few moments longer.

Slowly, Elle moves her free hand up from the bed, reaching over to give him a reassuring pat on the head. It's a strange gesture, one she'd never do in her right mind, unless it was fraught with sarcasm. "He won't let them," she muses aloud, dropping her hand back down into her lap with a thud, turning her head back to the side to fix him with as even a stare as she can manage. "He's good to me, you know. Carried me all the way out of the building, made sure I was okay. He didn't want to go, but he did. He even makes dinner." Oh, now these are definitely things she wouldn't be saying otherwise. "But I think he would still kill if he thought he had to. He would try to get me out. Like Peter did, only different. My white knights."

If the pat on his head didn't catch his attention, the words will. Lawrence looks up at this, brown eyes in nothing more than Labrador mode. He knows that this is not the Real Elle, but he can't help but remember when it used to be. At least, close to it. Piled onto what she is actually saying, it puts an attentively humbled look on his face. "You know- with what he did the other day, I'm not surprised." Gabriel seems to have taken up with Peter and put Church out of a job, though. And though Lawrence knows it is selfish of him to ask while Elle is so unguarded, when he realizes, he has to ask. "…So what does that make me, now?"

At first, all Elle can do is laugh - a lilting, almost childish sound. "Don't be silly," she chirps, her tone chastising, the smile which touchers her face a warmer one, this time. It's as if she expects him to know the answer already, and asking is a completely ridiculous thing. "You're my family, Larry. My good one." Her hand closes tighter around his once more, and she falls silent for just a second - until her eyes open wider with a realization. "Ohhh, Gabriel is going to be mad at me. I lied to him."

Compared to murder, lying is a forgivable sin. Church smiles and leans on the edge of her bed, glancing at the sheets in lieu of watching her laugh and smile at his expense. It is a good expense, though- and he just ends up looking bashful for it. Look what you did! "What did you tell him?" Lawrence tilts his head just a touch, glancing up at her face again. "Does he know you're here?"

"Nooo," is her sheepish and melodic reply, spoken as Elle presses her hands against the bed to try and sit up a tiny bit straighter. "He thinks I'm with Peter. He wouldn't let me go see Mer." Not that she asked him, but she was relatively certain that he would have refused. Letting out a sigh, she continues in her somewhat distant voice, "So I told a tiny little lie and left." A tiny little lie that escalated into a more grandiose lie, once the situation became more complicated. "Ohh, I should call him." A beat later, she amends her statement: "After I talk to Angela."

Church lifts his hand to Elle's shoulder just to make sure that she's going to stay lying down. It looks like a habitual gesture. Maybe he's reverted to that naturally parental mode. "See, this is why I try to refrain from outright lying as much as possible. It only ends badly." A small sigh later, he changes track. "Is it wise to wait? It's not like he won't notice you're missing by then."

Grimacing like a petulant child when he places his hand on her shoulder, Elle nonetheless remains lying down, dropping her head back against the pillow. "He probably already noticed," she murmurs, shaking her head slowly. "I'll…" Call now and be chewed out for being stupid, or call later and be chewed out for being stupid and going to the Company without telling him? Decisions, decisions. "I'll call him when we're on the way."

Point. He probably has already. Judging by a few things, he's going to guess maybe one group of people that might have taken her. Lawrence just frowns for a second or two. "Alright. But if we get back and the building is on fire or something, I'll blame you. I just got that office, and I like it not-crispy." Which he says as Completely Seriously as he can.

"Weeeeeell," Elle replies, her tone teasing, as her gaze darts away, "I'll wait until we're close. Then we'll make it there before him for sure." Because getting there first was the greatest concern, naturally. Her eyes pull back to Church now, settling on his face with a look that is somewhat more sober than she has been. "The last time I saw him— " Her demeanor suggests that this "him" is not Gabriel, any more. "— I hurt him. Zzzzzap." She punctuates her words with a little hand gesture, miming using her ability. "And he still wanted to keep me safe."

"Maybe you could convince him you'd be fine with me around." Church only has that to offer before she changes subjects. At first he isn't sure if she meant him, but then he realizes that she must obviously mean her real father. The rest of the management and agents still seem to be scurrying around because of his death, but for Church- he was almost expecting it any day, somehow. Color him unsurprised. It's not that he hated Bob- but there always seemed to be an ongoing rivalry of some kind. They disagreed on thousands of things. The biggest one, from practically the start? Elle.

Lawrence lets out a breath he had been holding for an extra second or two, his eyes roaming from the edge of the bed back to Elle's face. "I'm sorry." For your loss, for what happened- fill in the blanks.

"I am, too." Truthfully, Elle has been more devastated by her father's death than she might previously have imagined she would be, since discovering some of what he subjected her to as a child. Though medicated, it comes across in her voice as more than a tinge of sadness. "I don't even know what they wanted with him." Drawing her uninjured leg up, bent at the knee, Elle draws in a breath to steady herself. "When can you take me home?" Home. It isn't quite clear what she means by that.

Church slips in a question, just before she pulls her leg up. It seems to come at the same time that he tenses when she does- why are you moving you shouldn't be moving- "…Who was it, exactly?" He has his hands up now, unsure about if he should be trying to stop her from fidgeting. Careful! "I don't know yet. Maybe soon." He'd probably need to alert the nurses and get clearance to remove her, in the first place. And then maybe a wheelchair or something.

Careful? Elle can barely feel the sheets beneath her hands, let alone be concerned about her immobilized leg. Closing one hand around the tube connected to the needle in her hand, she pulls the needle from her hand and lets it drop, choosing that precise moment to answer his question: "Arthur Petrelli." Who is supposed to be dead, by all accounts. "There was someone else, too. I've seen him before. I don't remember who he is."

If there was something to get Church to look away from Elle yanking needles out of herself, it would be Elle saying that Arthur Petrelli murdered Bob Bishop. He stops- just about everything- his eyes stay open, his lips are parted, and what breathing he had been doing is not really there anymore. Even his shoulders have gone rigid. For those seconds, Lawrence is floating in a limbo; events and faces flicker through his mind. Most notably, going to Arthur Petrelli's funeral.

"He's dead." He sounds wary, but if Elle says it was him- what's going on here, and what in the hell is Pinehearst? He's going to have some words for Angela, come later. "What did he look like, Elle? The other one?" Lawrence has since adopted a serious volume, staring down Elle from the seat.

"He looked like…" Letting her eyelids fall once more, Elle leans back into the pillow, searching through her foggy memories for a glimpse of the man's face. "…Santa Claus without his beard." Very helpful, Elle. With her hand newly freed from the IV, she runs her fingers back through her hair, pulling it away from her face. "He was big. I think he was making me see things. It felt like I was dreaming." Good dreams, at least in part, else the corner of her mouth wouldn't twitch into a sad little smile. "I was following Daddy up the stairs, then he disappeared and Santa No-Beard was there instead."

For that first description, Church doesn't glean much. As Elle describes what happened, however- his eyes give off that usual glint they get when he's figured something out, gotten suspicious, or is just plain piecing things together. He leans away from the bed and down into the chair, putting both hands over his face and letting out his most frustrated noise. "Shit. Shit." Hey, Elle, guess what- this is getting worse with every minute, did you notice?

"Churchie's getting angry," Elle snickers beneath her breath, her amusement more than a little out of place given the gravity of the situation. "Who is he? I know I've seen him somewhere before. Deja vu. Or maaaaybe I just think I know him." But then, given who her father was, it's more likely that Elle knows exactly who he is, even if she doesn't quite recall. "I wonder if he's okay."

"Wonder if who's okay?" Is Lawrence's first question. But then he waves it off with a shake of his head and a frown. "It was probably Maury. Maury Parkman. He's a telepath- but instead of just reading thoughts, he can invade them too. Make you see things. Make you do things." And he's in cahoots with Arthur. What a Bad Day. "So yeah, I'm kinda mad, knowing they are running around together-" But he cuts himself off again, sitting up again and running both hands through his hair. Augh.

The name seems to strike a chord with Elle, and she lazily points a finger in his direction, raising her eyebrows. "Yes. Him." Taking advantage of his distraction, she starts to sit up once more, using both hands to push against the mattress. "Maybe. He was a founder, right?" Could be that it's starting to come back to her, now. "Maybe Angie has some old pictures I can look at." First step to getting out of the Company under her own power: not calling Angela Petrelli 'Angie'. "I'm totally going to make fun of your hair if you're in any."

Well, that makes him shut up. Lawrence just looks at Elle nervously for a moment, then snipes back lightly. "Yeah, he was. He disappeared or left while I was around. And hey- it was the middle of the eighties. You get to make fun of everyone's hair, or none at all." Or in Bob's case, the presence of it! "I think Angela had a perm once…" And as she sits up, he stands up, nudging her back down. "Don't fidget so much. You'll get plenty of that when we get ready to leave." That's probably something she is used to hearing from Church. 'No', 'don't do that' and 'stop that' are actually in his Elle-vocabulary.

Not that she listens to him when she does hear it. Elle moves her hands in slow, awkward gestures when he tries to nudge her back down, hoping to ward off his hands. Given that her reaction time is similar to that of a sloth, though perhaps marginally better, it all comes down to the stubborn pout that appears on her face. "I've been lying here for hours," she protests. "I want to leave now. They'll let me. I just need to sign something saying I won't sue them if I get gangrene. That's how it works."

"Then let the nurses move you, Elle." With that, he leans over the bed to grab at the little control with the Call Button on it, to press it in and wait for the waiting nurses. "You'll need your strength, don't waste it trying to get out of bed…"

Rolling her eyes melodramatically, Elle crosses her arms and settles back down against the pillows. "Fine," she grumbles beneath her breath, giving the impression of being much younger than she is. Some part of her is glad that they might be leaving, however. Hospitals are not her favourite place to be for many reasons - not the least of which is how they remind her of living in the Primatech facility. "But you're pushing me."

"Don't roll your eyes at me." Church laughs as he says this. Wait, how did he even see her doing it? He was busy finding the right button. Did he even see it, or just know? "I know, babe. I'll push you while you're crippled, don't worry." It doesn't take long for the nurses to get there, and Church sends one back to get a wheelchair. "But if you roll away from me, I'm not going to chase you." He actually would- he is just trying to tease her.

"You," Elle says brightly as she takes the nurse's hands to step down from the bed, wincing briefly at the shift in position, "are a saint." Half a second later, she bows her head and tries to muffle a snicker with… limited success. "Saint Church. Riiight."

It's a bit of an ordeal, trying to arrange to leave. There are clothes to attend to - with the help of the nurse, thank you very much, and not certain lifelong friends - and forms to sign. Eventually, however, Elle is seated into a wheelchair with her cast slightly elevated, tipping her head back to peer up at Church. "I'm glad it was you," she says, casting him a swift smile. "Let's go see the Wicked Witch."

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