2007-09-08: Save The World Redux

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif

Summary: Gene comes up to the Gomez family's country estate for the weekend. Elena tries to keep his mind off work, but there are some important things she has to tell him. This proves difficult. After all, just how do you tell one of your closest friends that he has a terminal illness?

Date It Happened: September 8th, 2009

Save The World Redux


The Gomez Country Home, Upstate New York

She had called Gene Kensington at about 6:00 pm on the seventh of September, Elena having managed to convince him to get out of the city for a while so she could show him the Gomezes' new place and so they can hang out a little. She didn't mind if he brought some work or research along with him, and would've confessed that she also had a few things to talk to him about, one of which was related to what he had been doing for her father. So it was half business, and half for fun. Of course, Elena wouldn't have done it any differently - Gene would've been more hesitant if it was just purely to hang out, considering how busy she was. And it wasn't as if she lied in that regard….she had a lot of things to tell him.

The moment Gene arrives she would've done a few things - offered him breakfast, and a tour of the house. She would've chatted with him about what had been going on lately, about how Eric's oldest brother had showed back up in his life, and how she managed to meet one of the nieces he never knew he had. She also would've told him about Jaden sending her doctored videos in an attempt to woo her, confessing her cluelessness as to how to tell her boss no again like she had done in Spain. She also would've asked how he was doing, whether he had any plans in the next week so she could drag him out to pizza or something simple like go to a movie.

They finally end up in Ramon's man cave, at the basement level of the Gomezes' converted farmhouse-estate thing. It's huge, with hardwood floors, a huge plasma TV mounted in the back wall. There are Laz-E Boys, a stereo system and surround sound….and most importantly, there's a bar to the side. And it is well stocked. Near the other side is a pool table, which Elena has been using to improve her game whenever she comes up here. Before Gene arrived, she hooked up Luis' old school, gray-and-purple SNES. Here, she'll challenge him for a few rounds of Street Fighter II.

Loading up the old cartridge and tooling around with the controls of the plasma, she grins over at her friend. "I'm hoping for the sake of my dignity you haven't played this in a while, 'cause I'm rusty."

The bar is well stocked and that's the important thing? Perhaps if you're Jack. For Gene, the TV and the Super NES take precedence. Underage drinking really never took hold on Gene, his grandfather letting him drink as soon as he was sixteen around the house as long as he went to a rowdy bar or two in order to see what happens when young men get drunk.

So when the offer to come and chill out came, Gene came. He knew there was likely work involved. The immature side of him tells himself there is always work (of course, he is almost always the one that brings up said work… the joys of thoughtless youth). In exchange, he tells of his work and how much catch-up he's had to do since return from Spain, how his grandfather came down with the flu but is getting better, and other such small talk. It's not much, but considering where Gene started from, it's a lot.

In honor of the game Elena said they had, Gene has one of his custom tee. It of the crossdressing Bates being attacked from behind by a guy with M. Bison's cap on. Underneath the picture from the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, 'Psycho' is written in the font used for the movie posters. Right next to it is the word 'Crusher'. On the back of the t-shirt, the fallen Bates is displayed with a pixilated 'PERFECT' over the fallen body. Geek meets Old School Classics.

Besides his usual jeans and sneaks, he also has his laptop and a backpack, holding the books that he had from NYU. They are currently in the hallway closet. Then placed away and conversation had, Gene moves in to follow Elena. "A couple of times. It's all good, I'll just use one of the people I don't play well with to make it fair." Like Balrog. Only retards and cheap people use Balrog.

"I'm really glad to hear about your grandfather doing better though. Flu's nasty business," Elena offers. While Gene didn't really say it, she got the impression that he and her grandfather were close - the man took him in after his own father tried to kill him and managed to kill his mother. It was something about Gene that she kept from all those closest to her, even Ramon and Peter and even Eric, who was a mutual, close friend, weren't privy to that knowledge. So once the game loads up, and the Start screen appears, she gets on one of the Laz-E Boys, kicking off her Donkey slippers so she could indian-sit on the comfy, leather things and picks up a controller. Whenever Gene turns to her after shrugging off whatever jacket she has, she suddenly laughs at what she sees on his t-shirt.

"Alright. I officially bow to your tastes in geeky t-shirts." Elena has a collection of her own, and she's pretty proud of it, but Gene takes the cake. Eric had started to wear them more often too, they could call themselves the Geeky T-Shirt Brigade or something. She pushes a button to get to her character select screen, and selects…surprisingly not Chun-Li. She had been a huge Chun-Li player back when she was 12 and still played videogames. But she decides that today Blanka deserves some lovin', so she selects the green, electroshocking mutant thing.

"I don't mind if you kick my ass," the girl says with a grin, waiting for him to sit down, hit select, and they can beat the crap out of each other in two-dimensional pixelated glory. "Thanks for coming up, by the way. I haven't seen you since we got back from Spain. I'm sorry you had so much to catch up on when getting back though."

After taking a seat next to the Latina woman and choosing his character, Balrog, Gene smirks. "Since they have places that let you make your own, I had to get this to keep up." After Elena chooses the stage, he watches the little plane fly over toward the sight of epic battle. "As for work, it happens. I'll be caught up in a couple of weeks or so, I'm sure. Nice place you got… Suppose your father figured it was worth the crazy commute to actually own some land."

"Yeah, it takes him an hour with no traffic." Like that ever happens in New York unless he decides to drive at one in the morning. "And two with. You're a driver, so you know how it is most of the time." Elena picks the stage.

READY?!
FIGHT!

It's taking her a bit, so the first time she attacks, she just mashes the buttons. This makes Blanka propel himself forward in that spinning-bowling ball launch thing he does. "I told you I needed to talk to you about some things….I wanted to thank you for doing what you did with Papa. The footage helps….also, Peter came back. He's been gone for a month on a trip." Pause. "Two years into the future. I couldn't believe it either but he has proof. There's a couple of flash drives I want to give you, one has information with what you're helping Papa with now, and another flash drive came from you. Future you. In 2009. It's got….a lot of stuff I can't even begin to understand. But it looks like research your future self has collected over the course of two years."

Blanka's attack hits true, as does any other punches or blows that comes after. Gene's suddenly not interested in playing now. "What the heck? The future? But why did he go there? HOW did he get there?"

"Why else? To save the world. Again," Elena remarks, watching Blanka KO Gene's character after a few mashes of the buttons. Just because he wasn't paying attention doesn't mean she lets up. She cheats that way. She looks over at Gene as Round 2 starts. "How he saved it the first time is a really long story. I can give you the Cliff Notes version if you want to hear it. It was during that time he met this guy named Hiro Nakamura. I've met him once, because he recruited me for Save the World Redux, which is what's happening right now." She told Gene about Save the World Redux before. "At first I thought he was just a teleporter, but it's not the case. He's also a time traveler. Peter absorbed his abilities in Save the World 1, which he used for Save the World 2. So he pulled a Marty McFly sometime in July to see what happened and how we could stop it. The tornado, the virus…" Gene knows about the virus. "He wasn't unsuccessful. He brought back a lot of information." She hesitates. "Gene….your future self knows who caused the tornadoes that'll kick off everything. But he couldn't really tell Peter when he met her. Do you know someone named Evelyn? Evelyn Tash?"

"I see." That's all Gene has to say about the first part. He glances toward the game and doesn't really do much about his losing streak, just letting Elena do whatever the heck she wants to Balrog. Enjoy the perfects, they won't last for long. The name takes a couple moments for Gene to think over. Thankfully, the name uncommon enough to stick out. "Yeah, I've talked to her a few times. Met her around a high school and at Central Park a couple months ago. I guess that's who Ramon wanted to find. She didn't tell me about any powers, but I supposed that doesn't mean anything. At least if we are talking about the same Evelyn." Gene pauses thinking to himself. "Wait, we have to be… I only know one Evelyn right now. So, what are we supposed to do? Get her out of the city? Make sure that Sylar or the Company don't get to her?"

"I don't know," Elena says as she racks up the points while Gene's letting her win. "The first step would probably be to talk to her. Peter's got her contact information. Future Evelyn gave it to her himself, in her own handwriting on a Hello Kitty memo pad. But Peter stopped by yesterday morning and he said…he was going to ask you if you knew her, and if you'd come along to talk to her because it might be easier if someone came along that she actually exchanged more than just a few words with. That's what Papa was trying to figure out last night. After hearing about it he wanted us to call you right away." She looks over at Gene. "You're….I've got proof that you're one of us, by the way. Believe me I was half-hoping that you are actually just really really smart. And hell you probably are, but there's something else. Peter absorbed your abilities. If you knew him better you'd know he's a little hopeless with technology. But before he left for the future he told me he managed to build a remote that changes traffic lights. I'm a little relieved, because to test you I would've used these dampener pills that he managed to score for me and Cass from the Company and I really didn't want to do that."

"I see." Gene's response is the same as before. There is a bit of silence as Gene is allowed to continue. Which he does, pressing start. "I'll go with Peter and talk with her. I dunno how much she trusts me. Unlike you and most of your friends, we haven't exactly bonded in a gunfight or something like that," Gene offers with a meek smile. Despite Gene's preparedness for the worst, he rarely has been in actual danger.

The Geek God is silent for awhile as it's known that Peter absorbed his gift and already has been able to use it. Zangief is selected as the fighter. This time though, Gene's face is without the usual smile as he plays, focused on fight. He blocks weaker attacks, knowing what to counter with what. He isn't afraid to go in for the throws or to use that horrible spinning pile driver if needed. After the round is done, provided there isn't a disruption, Gene glances over toward Elena. "Mr. Gomez asked for me?"

"We didn't bond in a gunfight," Elena points out, with a hint of a smile, but not much - this was tempered considerably by the serious discussion. When Gene just lets Balrog get beat up and selects the brawny Russian wrestler instead, this is when she starts losing, and horribly. Blanka gets owned in the first round, and then the second. After that round, she switches to Chun-Li to give herself a fighting chance. She's a little better with the character, even if she wasn't lying about being pretty rusty. Thunder Thighs launches off with a high kick followed by the lightning kick. "Yeah, after he found out you knew the person we were looking for. He told us you gave him a talking to after Syracuse." She looks over so she could meet Gene's eyes. "He was grumbly about it, but he's like that when he talks about getting berated about people he actually likes. I think my father really likes you. That usually never happens. It took him a bit to warm up to Eric."

She turns her attention back to the fight again. "There's….also something I want to tell you. About you. But I want you to hear it from me first, before you hear it from anyone else. I just…I knew about it, a bit. Before we left for Spain. I was just….I was just really afraid of telling you about it. I know I have to, right now more than ever I have to, but I'm scared." Her voice sounds a little funny at the last.

"I just told him that he did things without thinking it through and it was a miracle that no one died yet. Pretty much what I told Nathan the last time I talked with him." Gene, always focusing on the negative. "Well, I suppose being a middle class geek that saved his daughter comes across differently than a rich pretty boy that saved his daughter," he offers with a nervous laugh. He presses pause in the middle of the epic fight of Chun-Li vs. Zangief. "It's fine whatever it is, Elena." Gene readies himself mentally, figuring it something like 'I think you have a crush on me and it's creeping me out' or 'We have to sell you out to the Company or they are going to take my family away'.

"No it's not." Elena grips the controller, feeling the sting in her eyes. "It's really not. It isn't fair is what it is. It isn't. You're….you're my age. This isn't supposed to…" She isn't even playing anymore, her button-mashing has stopped for a bit. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Since he's sitting next to her, she hits the pause button and turns to look at him. "Remember the day we tested your brain scanner? When we used the brainwave monitor function, and then later we tested the scan itself? I mentioned I saw something weird in yours…." She glances down at the controller in her hands. "I had a suspicion but….I'm not a doctor Gene. And I don't trust any of them in Mount Sinai. I figured I could go to one of my professors at NYU, but I went to Cass, who actually went to med school for a time, to get an opinion. It…" There's no going back now. She forces her head up to look Gene in the face. "You have a brain tumor, Gene. Around the basilar artery on the left side. If it gets bigger…."

He knows probably what that means. Gene might be mostly a technological genius, but he was extremely smart. She blurts out. "We out a way to keep it benign. But….we have to find a way to get rid of it permanently so….I'll get on that. Right away. But….it might take a while, and I have to study really, really hard, but it'll happen. I promise."

He's heard others speak of brain cancer before. Still, to hear that it is happening to him. The thought that he is getting sick and dying already was something he had in the pit of his stomach. You don't puke and get migraines for months on end without there being a reason for it. "Tumor… I know I started getting sick when I've worked on my projects for the last six months or so. I just figured it was stress." There is a bit of silence. Gene's face and tone can best be described as a gentle shock or a peaceful dread. "Do I have cancer?"

"….yes…" Elena says softly, biting down on her inner cheek. She can feel a little bit of blood seep out in her tongue, but that was better than bawling, especially at the look on Gene's face and the tone of his voice. "It's the sort of tumor we can't…just cut your head open and take out. It's around the basilar artery. It's right in the middle of your brain, and it's the intersection point of all the other arteries your brain uses to function. There's gotta be another way."

"So you are saying that something in my brain is… Killing me?" The fact is given the proper weight as Gene mulls over the implications. His eyes shift to the floor as it often does, closing his eyes only to try and fight back the tears that become to form. "The thing that makes me special is… killing me? Eric gets to make things dark, Jaden gets to make copies of himself, Peter gets any damn power that he wants, and I get to f***ing die?" His words are barely above a whisper, but pain on his face twists to the point like he was ready to scream and explode. He usually can hold back such 'primal' urges, but now he's doing okay not to rage out here. Right now, cures are not exactly what his mind is dwelling on. Droplets of water hit the floor as he leans forward, trying to get up, but finding there's no strength in his legs. "What the hell did I do? I haven't killed anyone, slept with anyone… the only illegal things I've done is to help people."

She watches helplessly when transparent drops of moisture hit the floor, Elena not moving yet, frozen in place when she watches Gene crumple under the weight of what she just told him. He isn't doing as bad as anyone else in his position would, but Gene was her friend. Gene saved her life. And Gene was right. He didn't do anything to deserve this. They had to find a way, her and Cass. She can't just let this lie. When he leans forward, this is when she gets off her Laz-E Boy, walking over so she could perch on the arm of his Laz-E Boy next to her. She doesn't really say much - she said enough. Part of her recognizes the very real possibility of failure, but she's not about to accept it without a fight. So she reaches over if he'll let her to curl her arms tightly around him and hug him. She doesn't cry, or sob, or do very girly things to make it worse, but her eyes are watery, and her nose is a little red.

Gene doesn't fight the hug, though he doesn't return it. It's hard to tell that he even feels it considering he doesn't even react to it. His eyes look up to the screen. When he took his games apart to figure out how they could work, it was getting worse. When he built R2-D2, it was getting worse. When he made the device that saved Elena, it was getting worse. If Peter really didn't use his ability much, it's likely why he doesn't have the same issue, Gene muses. He breathes out and breathes in slowly a couple of times. "So, anything else we need to talk about or shall we get back to the game?" he offers with a weak mirthless smile. At least he's trying to pretend like he's a good little trooper.

"Gene you don't have to pretend that everything's okay," Elena says, pulling back a bit. Her hug loosens, but her arms are still draped on him. She blinks back her own moisture that threatens to fall, but she doesn't make it worse - or she tries to. "Because it's not. You know that, I know that. There's no need to pretend it is." She reaches out a hand to thumb the wet streaks away from his face. "We can get back to it, but only if you really feel like it. If you want to work some more, we can do that too. I just…" She hesitates. "We have time. So many people died in the future, people we know. But you were still alive."

"I'm sure events in this timeline have already been altered. The fact that Peter wasn't here already led us down a different path. Hopefully, the things that worked out there for the better will work out here as well," Gene notes. He glances toward Elena, most of his tears already stopping their decent. "I don't pretend everything is fine. I just move on. Crying rarely makes me feel better if I do it for awhile." He rubs his temples with one hand for a moment before he does something that he rarely does. He just leans into the hug. He doesn't have a mom, his father is a possible homicidal killer, and his grandfather is in another state. Gene will have to settle for a highly attractive female friend for comfort cuddles. He usually would feel awkward about such a nonverbal request, but right now, saving face is not on his list of important things.

"I hope so," Elena says softly. "I don't really know…how this time travel thing works. Apparently it's been done before, but not by Peter. By the other guy, Hiro. I don't know what he did, but he managed to prevent the first disaster from happening. Peter tried to do the same thing but I don't know if preventing all this will have to be done by changing everything or just one thing like what Desiree says. Stop the storms, stop it all. I wish I knew how to find him. So I can ask." She listens quietly when he finally talks, but when he does something so rare, like lean into her hug, she has no heart, or too much heart, to refuse him. As his face buries somewhere into her shoulder, her arms come around him again, hugging him more securely. Rubbing his back gently with her fingers, she drops a small kiss on the top of his head, before drawing him further up to her and watching the far wall. She'll do what it takes.

He saved her life and protected her the only way he could in the last few months since he's met her. It was time to return the favor.

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