2007-05-16: Shakespeare Couldn't Have Done Better


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Summary: Elena visits Enlightenment Books close to closing hours so she could catch Cass alone to talk. She tells her about what she knows about the shadiness in Mount Sinai, only to realize Peter had already passed onto Cass the information she had passed him in the white card she had left him in his apartment. The fallout of the events since her kidnapping finally unravel. A storm is brewing on the horizon.

Date It Happened: May 16, 2007

Shakespeare Couldn't Have Done Better

Enlightenment Books, Greenwich Village, New York

Enlightenment Books is looking even more like itself. The shelves are slowly getting filled with colorful spines and it's decorations are put back in place. The huge stack of boxes that were steadily delivered during the week is starting to dwindle and Cass is currently going through another one. It's like an unending assembly line of cut open box, unload box, shelve books, collapse box, repeat. But it's a nice routine and with a boombox steadily playing some good music, it's actually kind of relaxing to be doing work that takes minimal thought.

Sneak. Sneak. Elena peeks through the window to see who was working in the store today. Seeing it's just Cass? The young woman looks over her shoulder, before stepping through the door. "Cass….?" she inquires, closing the door. She looks a little embarassed, a little awkward. Save for the text she sent Cass about needing to talk to her sometime soon after she heard all the stuff from Mount Sinai, she hasn't chatted with the woman face-to-face since she patched her up after Elle. "Hey, did you get my text?" she asks. She looks around suspiciously, and points around the room, mouthing a question. Is it safe to talk here now? What about the bugs?

The moment the door opens, Cass peers around the bookshelf she's behind. Just because the music is on doesn't mean she's left behind that second sense of just /knowing/ when someone is coming into her store. "Elena!" The bookstore owner smiles and gestures for her to come closer, letting the books she was holding slide onto the counter. "I did. Sorry, I meant to text you back but things got a little crazy." At the mouthing, she just gives a solemn nod. "We should be fine. I keep checking around, but I haven't found anything else."

"Oh good," Elena says, breathing a sigh of relief, and walking over to where she is. She drops her backpack on the ground, and she folds her arms on the counter. "How are you doing? And…..thanks a lot for everything, during the…you know." She looks a little awkward bringing me up. "I'm not that much of a crybaby, I promise. It's just that…." She pauses, and gives Cass a small smile. "Thanks for everything." Better to just get straight to the point, then babble away. But then her expression turns serious. "I found something out in the hospital where I volunteer. I overheard a bunch of hospital staff talking. Apparently…what I was telling you about. The hantavirus. There was no hantavirus outbreak. This lab tech was saying there -was- something but it wasn't….."

"I'm good. How about you?" Cass studies Elena. The girl looks better, but who knows what internal damage there could be. "Elena, anyone who wasn't crying or emotionally hurt from what you went through is dead inside. And, really, you don't have to thank me. I'm glad I could help." She smiles and gives a slight push of he books over so they're in no danger of falling off the edge. "Oh! About the hospital, yeah! Peter was helping me stock yesterday and told me some of what he found out about it!" Excitedly, she leans over so that she can say something in something a little more confident. "And the doctor suddenly 'couldn't remember' things!" By this time she's talking /with/ Elena. "And I think that there's something having to do with our favorite super secret organization involved in all this."

"He -forgot- what it was, Cass! If it's something 'weird' like he says, how can he find it weird but forget it? Don't you think if you saw something -weird-, you'd remember it?" Elena says, breathless…..only to realize they're talking at the same time, and Cass is essentially telling her what she's telling her. She pauses, and then? She bursts out laughing, dropping her forehead on the counter. "…..I'm starting to think we were meant to meet on that bus accident, Cass," she says, looking up at the bookstore owner and grinning fondly. "So…I take it you're…connecting this with what I told you about the missing girl the last time I was at your place?"

Continuing on with what she's talking about, Cass adds, "I mean, they have to if some doctor suddenly…" and then she realizes what's happening. She gives Elena a studying glance before she starts to laugh, too. "Oh my God. We cannot do that again. It's too creepy." Grinning, she decides that if they're going to talk about this, she might as well be working at the same time. Scooping up her books, she starts to slowly walk to the right shelf. "Yeah. I figure that if this doctor can mysteriously forget a really important and /rare/ case and the girl it involves /mysteriously/ disappears, it's got to be related to the Company. What else could it be?" Maybe coincidence, but she's starting to not believe in that any more.

"You know what I find disturbing about it?" Elena asks, digging into her bag, and pulls out…one of the missing person posters. She unfolds it, and shows it to Cass. Not like anyone would miss one, the posters were -everywhere -. "It doesn't have contact information to the New York Police Department on it. Meaning while civilians are looking for her, there's no indication that the cops are looking for her." She taps the contact information on it, bearing the out-of-the-country email address handle and the three phone numbers. "And it says that she was last spotted leaving a place called Envision Web Design. Cass. I was there. I remember the name. She went to the hospital. This was -not- the last place anyone could've seen her. The last -place- anyone could've seen her was in Mount Sinai. A hospital. And you know as well as I do that when a person -that sick-, and she was that sick otherwise they wouldn't be sealing their files and finding weird pathogens in it, is admitted to the hospital, the hospital staff would be contacting next of kin. I don't think they did that in this case. Something fishy's going on in that hospital."

Pausing on her trek over to the shelf, Cass studies the flyers carefully. She's seen them around, but other than the cursory glance she hasn't really made much of them. Lately she's had her mind in other things on her commutes. "Huh. Maybe we should talk to the police about this," she says thoughtfully. "Find out why they're not looking for her." It wouldn't hurt, right? "Hm. So someone's been rooting around and trying to erase what they can. This is certainly fishy. Peter said that Elle was going to try and see if she can find a Company file on the girl. But, I'm not sure if we can trust her. And even if we can, she's limited by the fact that she's an Agent. We might have to find another way to get around that."

There's a brief…flicker of an unreadable emotion passing over Elena's face at the mention of Peter and Elle. She glances to the side, perhaps in an effort to hide it, in an effort to be 'suddenly interested' at a display of new occult books that Cass just got in. "Cass here's my question," she says softly. "Do you think the Company actually has this Hayes woman right now? If they have her right now, why didn't they just take the files from the hospital? Why keep them there? And why would people from an out-of-the-country e-mail address be looking for her?" She taps on the poster again. "I….Cass, do you think it's possible that she's still -walking around- with whatever it is in her body?"

It didn't add up. The police didn't seem to be looking for her. But people out of the country are? Or who - appeared- to be out of the country? If these people were relations of Cara Hayes, looking for her, -why- didn't Mount Sinai contact them? "It's been WEEKS since the quarantine, weeks since Cara Hayes went to the hospital. If Mount Sinai did its job and contacted Cara Hayes's relations then and if these people are her relations, they'd have her last known whereabouts right. If the hospital knew the thing was in her body, they wouldn't have just…. -released- her. Would they? The quarantine happened….sometime in the second week of April. The poster says she was missing by April 26th. You think these might be some sort of trap?"

But finally, she has to address the last. She nods. "Yeah. We gotta. We don't even know if the Company does or doesn't have Cara Hayes. So…" She pauses. "I'll go back," she says determinedly. "I volunteer there. That was how I was able to ….get what I could to Peter in the first place. I'll find out if the files are paper or if they're electronic. If they're paper….there's no other way to get them but the hospital. If they're electronic…" There was Gene.

Elena's right, it doesn't exactly all add up. But Cass sighs and puts books back. The look of emotion that passes over Elena's face is noted, but not commented on. Not right now. It would only serve to derail the current conversation. The Peter/Elle/Elena thing is an entirely other conversation that could take up God knows how long. "I don't know, Elena. But, they kept Peter there for months and no one knew where he was." Frowning, she shrugs again. "And…that Sylar guy had a virus that shut off his abilities for who knows how long before he cured himself. If they erased all mention of her from the doctor's memories, they could just be hoping that no one remembers her name or knew she was there. I don't know why they didn't take the file. Maybe someone else had it and they didn't know. Human error."

Determined, she finishes the books that are in her arm before going back for another armful. "If we don't know for sure, then we say that she's still alive and do everything we can to help her. I'm not about to just write someone off for dead without knowing for certain. I can talk to the police about what they might know. If Elle comes up with nothing….maybe I can talk to my father. Or someone higher up. Maybe I should talk to him sooner. I already need to have some words with him." About the way his Company treated her store and her friends. "But if I do that then they know we're on the trail."

"I don't think these people are in the habit of making many mistakes," Elena says softly, looking at Cass. "Especially when it comes to cleaning up. They've been…operating for years. Hiro Nakamura's father -is- a founder, and god only knows -how- long he's known about this phenomenon. And we're now just learning about all this stuff. If they've been suppressing knowledge about anomalistic abilities for the last few years or decades, seems to be they're experts in covering up stuff by now." She frowns softly. "Anyway…I'll see what else I can find out in the hospital. Maybe something new will come up."

When Cass mentions that she's going to confront her father, Elena balks a little bit. "Cass….Cass are you sure?" she wonders. "I mean….Elle's father." God she hated bringing this up now but she had to. "Elle's father works for the Company." She doesn't actually know Bob runs the Company. "And he had no problem whatsoever locking her up and making her generate electricity over and over from eight years old or younger. I don't mean…I don't want to imply that your father would do the same to you or anything, but….at least wait and see if Elle comes through for us. I think the most direct route to what we need are those files."

"I know." Cass' father told her about Hiro's father and how deep this all goes. "But things happen. I doubt they let an inmate escape before Peter, too. There's a first for everything." With a sigh, she nods and shoves a book into the right place. "That's a good idea."

As for her father, well. There's a long pause while the storekeep thinks that over. "He's my father. He's not Mr. Bishop. He never turned me over to them and even after he knew that I knew…he never let me come under harm. My dad isn't Elle's." Of course, this is because she has no ability to test over and over again. "It's worse than that, Elena. Elle's dad is the head of the Company."

"Okay," Elena says softly, watching Cass. And when she talks about her father, she winces. "I know….if…I was out of line, I'm sorry. I just….look, Lachlan…" She groans, and rubs her face a little bit. "Lachlan ran into me a few weeks ago. He was afraid that….he wanted to know if there was a way to retrieve memories back because he found out that I've been visited by the Haitian. He's….he's really worried about that, Cass. When I told him I …I wasn't -fixed- after that, he looked so crestfallen. Like…you forgetting -anything- at all would be the worst thing ever. So…." She shuffles on her feet, looking a little awkward. "I'd….I'd be really careful. I hope you'll be careful. You're older and smarter than me, I'm sure you can probably talk your way out of anything because you're so cute, but….just be very careful, yeah?"

When Cass says what she does, and with her talking about Lachlan, she COUGHS. She chokes on her own spit. "Elle's….he's…WHAT?" Oh crap. OH CRAP. She'd HAVE to tell Cass now. Her face drains a little bit of color. "Elle…Elle's dad is…is…" The HEAD? THE BOSS? WHAT?

"No, you weren't out of line." Cass gives Elena a weak smile. "I'm still trying to come to terms with what it is my father does for a living. What he /supported/ me doing for my entire life without me being the wiser for it. I love him. He's my father…but I don't agree with anything he stands for or works for. It's…hard." She's always been daddy's girl and while she's been rebellious, this is the first huge ideological break they've had with each other. "But, he's part of the Company and that makes him on the other team." The mention of Lachlan being so worried about her makes the smile come back in a fond way. "I know. I'm trying to be careful. Really I am. But…I see and hear all these things happening and I want to go straight up to the Company and yell at them and /make/ them see that what they're doing is wrong." She sighs. "If I talk to my father, it would be just that. Me talking to my father. Maybe he'll give me information or maybe he won't. But I don't think he'd try to take my memories or /do/ anything. He hasn't yet." She laughs. "I don't know about all that, but I'm being careful. You have to do the same thing, too. They have more of a reason to go after you than me."

The last part makes Cass blink and stare at Elena. "Are…are you okay? Yeah. Peter just told me yesterday. I was trying to see if we could find a middle ground and…he told me. It makes things…that much more complicated."

"No, it's…it's not that, it's…" Elena says faintly. She looks at Cass, and she doesn't look just pale anymore. Now she looks -gray-. "Cass…" she whispers. "Cass you have to stop him. You have to stop Lachlan, you're the only one he listens to. It's…" She pauses. "I visited Jack earlier today to drop off something for him before I came over here to see you and talk. I…I didn't want to be in the store when…Peter…could be working here." So, she was still avoiding him. She hated it. But it had to be done. One day she'll explain but…right now it was just…. she shakes her head vigorously to clear her head to continue on with what she was saying. "Lachlan told Jack about me. And you. And what Elle did. And Jack got pissed, and then…they plotted to go -kill- Elle. Seriously. I mean after I explained the situation with Jack, he said he wasn't going to anymore but Lachlan doesn't listen to me. And if Elle's the daughter of the COMPANY'S BOSS…"

While Cass is listening to Elena, she's not really understanding her. Lachlan? /Her/ Lachlan? He wouldn't seriously kill someone. This is a strange mistake. A miscommunication somehow. "Wh-what? No, they can't have been serious." Lachlan told her that he hadn't been that good of a person before they met, but she can't imagine it going this deep. /Killing/ someone. "They /wouldn't/ have. I mean. This is Jack and Lachlan." She remembers how happy and drunk Lachlan was last night when he came home. How can she reconcile that idea with him plotting to murder someone in cold blood? Forget the implications of killing the daughter of the head of the Company. This is something totally different. "Elena, they weren't serious."

"You know what I said when Jack told me that?" Elena says grimly. "The same damned thing. I actually laughed. And then I asked Jack if he was serious. He looked at me with this…expression on his face, and said they were. Oh god, Cass, it was my fault." She drops her forehead on the counter. "I should've told you guys sooner that things were square between Elle and me. But…I didn't think you guys wanted to hear about her anymore, you looked so mad that night, and what she did to your store…oh Cass, I'm so stupid. I'm so sorry!"

There's no moment of acceptance for this whole situation for Cass. She doesn't suddenly believe Elena or that she hasn't horribly misunderstood Lachlan and Jack. In fact, she doesn't know what to think. "It's not your fault." For some reason the woman has been having to say that a lot lately. "You couldn't have known." She can't say one way or another what she's thinking right now. It's still unreal for her. All that talk about having a gun, learning to shoot…it's now eerie. "I'll…I'll talk to him." But even if she does, she's not sure what she'll accomplish. Especially if she doesn't believe he's capable of it, herself.

"Thanks, Cass. I just…I just don't want…" Elena groans. Cass is telling her it's not her fault. But it had to be. If she just…-talked- to people more, Lachlan and Jack would've just been DRINKING that night, and not….and now she feels tremenduously terrible. Because Lach was only trying to keep them safe. In his own way. She could feel circumstances spiraling out of her control, slipping from her fingers. She drops her head in her hands, burying her face in it. She closes her eyes. And why shouldn't she blame herself? If she hadn't asked Peter….if she hadn't become so -close- to him….if she -just-….no. She wasn't going to cry. She's done -enough- crying this week. She was 19 years old. While shedding some tears are acceptable as Cass said, she's not about to bawl when she's working so hard to prevent disaster. There was work to do. There was a bigger picture to consider. She looks up and sighs. "If…is there….anything I can do for you in the meantime?" she asks.

"Me neither." Cass sighs, her face set into determination again. For all sorts of reasons. "She may be a psycho, but that doesn't mean anyone should kill her." When Elena drops her head into her hands on the counter, Cass can't think of anything else to do other than wrap an arm around her. It may not be taken, but she's trying to comfort somehow. "It really isn't your fault. It's like I told Peter, you can't hold be responsible for other people's actions. Even if you would have told Lach and Jack, that doesn't mean they wouldn't want to do the same thing. Don't worry. I'm fine. The store will be open again in a day or two and I'll open up my lab next week. We'll work everything out." She sounds much more confident than she may be feeling right now.

"Cass….this all started because I asked Peter to -keep things- from his girlfriend. About me. I didn't even…I was so -worried- about getting bagged and tagged or whatever the -hell- they do over there to people they capture that I didn't even….I didn't even stop to think as to what it could look like." Elena looks over at Cass with wide, regretful eyes. "And…honestly, I should've known better, Peter's a -terrible liar-. What the hell was I thinking?!" And so some of the story tumbles out. She never told Cass -why- Elle grabbed her in the first place. It was way too embarassing. Perhaps it also explained why she couldn't just talk to Peter about it. She didn't know how to even approach it. She…after that how the hell could she look him in the eye again? This was all too damned ridiculous and she was floundering in uncharted waters.

"You weren't asking him to keep things from his girlfriend, you are asking him to keep them from a /Company Agent/." Cass shakes her head and gives the girl's shoulders a squeeze. "It's a legitimate fear. He should realize that. And Elle's reaction was /her own/. She /could/ have just /asked/ you and Peter what the deal was. She could have decided to trust someone she's supposed to be in love with. But instead, she jumped to conclusions and decided to torture you. There is no way in the world that is your fault. Even if you did ask him to keep secrets." Sighing, she rests her head against Elena's. "Jealousy happens….but ultimately it comes down to who you trust. You can't make a relationship work without it. You have to be able to talk it out. Or yell. You /don't/ electrocute. That's like me pulling a gun on Lachlan for lying."

"It's not wholly her fault…" Elena says softly. "…she's…not all up there. In the head. Her father did it. The tests." But Cass was right. She can't just keep saying it was completely her fault. Now that the older woman is putting reason into a normally reasonable person's head, she could, at the very least, see it. She was right, of course she was right. The more logical aspects of her mind take over. There was a reason why Cass and Elena got along so well. Their brains functioned the same way. "…..yeah," she says softly. "You're right." She looks over at Cass and smiles ruefully. "You're talking to a novice here, you know? I've never been in a relationship. I don't know…what's allowed. But I guess instincts are there for a reason, right?"

Cass grins and picks up her books again. Might as well get back to work for a little while. "Thanks. Lach and I are certainly…something. Not so sure about perfect, but it's nice." Which is why this latest talk she has to have with him is going to be interesting. If there is no other word for it. "You're young, have fun. No need to get into anything serious." She smiles. "You're welcome. I'm not exactly the best person to come to for relationship advice. But I try."

"Well…no, I'm just saying…" Elena pauses, and she smiles. "Thanks again." She picks up her backpack, completely unaware of the fallout that's doomed to land on her head once this runs its course. "Call me if you need anything else, okay? I gotta go." She gives her a slight wave, and then, she turns to head out of the bookstore.

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