2007-03-02: So Long And Thanks For The Cake


Elena_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif

Summary: Elena stops by with a gift for Benji

Date It Happened: March 2nd, 2007

Log Title So Long and Thanks For The Cake

Winters Apartment

Evening time and Benjamin's back in his apartment, where he's stayed since the incident in the park earlier. Rose is off.. doing who knows what. He knows that the girl had to have been spooked by the incident, she just doesn't show it. Seriously though.. crazy guy with a /sword/ and a /gun/. Threatening him and his daughter! Maybe it's time to think about relocating to oh say, Antarctica and getting away from the world. Anyway. The apartment is quiet and Benjamin's on the couch, trying to skim over the daily paper.

Session 2 with Eric seems to be giving her theory some credence, having stepped out of his door after saying goodbye to him and walking down the hall. But Elena isn't done in this building. She gets on the elevator, and hits the button for Benjamin's floor. As she moves down with the lift, she leans her back heavily against the wall, cradling something rectangular with her. Her backpack is on her shoulder, and she's got a red scarf wrapped around her neck. Her hair is loose today, tousled around her face. She looks exhausted, and there's a bruise on the side of her forehead.

Once the elevator makes that trademarked dinging noise, she steps out from the double doors and makes her way to the Winters apartment. She lifts a hand to pause for a moment, and then, she knocks on it softly.

"…Mr. Winters?" she ventures hesitantly, rocking back on her heels and waiting.

The knocking startles Benjamin, really, he's almost a walking nervous wreck these days. Hearing Elena's voice on the other side of the door has him up from the couch, paper discarded to the side. "Coming," he calls out as he crosses to the door and opens it up. "Miss Gomez, hi, uh, can I do something for.. what happened?" He looks at the bruise on the woman's forehead and suddenly his day kinda pales in comparison.

"I….there was an incident, in the East Village. I got punched and I fell," Elena says quietly, but she lifts one hand to rub the bruise on her forehead. "But I'm okay! See? Just bruises." She plants a cheerful smile on her face and presents Benjamin with the rectangle, and stretched over it is tightly-sealed saran wrap so he can see what's inside. Then again, he can probably smell it. Homemade carrot cake, with sweet, cream-cheese frosting and some orange zest sprinkled on top. "I meant to come sooner with a Welcome Home something, but I haven't had the time until today. I figured I could give you a sample so you know whether you still want to stop by our place for dinner," she jokes with a grin.

Benjamin blinks and stands aside to let Elena in. "Oh my goodness, did you call the police?" The offered cake catches him off guard and he takes it, an expression of surprise on his face. "Wow, shucks. You didn't have to do this. Thank you! Come on in, uh, do you want something to drink? I think I'm well stocked now, what with having Rose around and all." He gestures for her to have a seat as he takes the cake into the kitchen. Cabinets are opened, and dishes can be heard rattling around. He's going to carve up a couple of slices now, before Rose comes home. Teenagers seem to eat everything and a lot of it.

"I did. I stayed behind…." Elena pauses, and confesses quietly. "There were people similar to you who were involved. If it weren't for them, more people would've died. So I called the police and I told them a not-so-truthful version of what happened. But I tried to stick to the most honest course. I felt bad….but…." She pauses and takes a seat when it's offered. "I think it was last week but I saw this traffic stop at Times Square that went wrong. But the perpetrator was fingerprinted, and soon after, men in suits arrived - they didn't look like FBI. So if I said anything…I didn't want to put others like you at risk." She perks up a touch. "Do you have Diet Pepsi by any chance?"

Benjamin listens to Elena talk as he puts a slice of cake onto two plates. "Uhm.. I think so.." He opens up the fridge and just boggles at some of the flavors in there, "There's the new.. what the.. chocolate cherry Dr. Pepper? Where'd /that/ come from? I don't see any Diet Pepsi.. there's milk, orange juice, some Coke.. What was going on though? Some kind of rally for people with powers?" The men in suits comment has him frowning there at the contents of his fridge.

"…it was odd," Elena says. "And Coke's good! Thank you!" She folds her hands on the table as she watches him move around his kitchen. "But….I didn't see anything illegal go on. He didn't look like he was speeding or anything. He was just stopped and they tried to fingerprint him. And the guy just…he suddenly pulled one of those really fast moves like in those old Kung-Fu movies, and then he started running. And then this blonde chick yelled at him, called him Adam. And then this Japanese kid comes running out, and starts calling him Kensei. It was so weird. But afterwards….those men in suits showed up."

Benjamin fetches two cans of Coke from the fridge and digs out two forks. He manages to carry the plates, the cans and forks into the living room and sets them down on the coffee table. "Huh.. and I thought my day was scary.." He settles down on the couch and stabs a forkful of cake and pops it into his mouth. Immediately his eyes kind of roll back. Something that probably sounds like, 'Oh my god this is good,' is uttered around the chewing. Pardon him.

She grins, watching Benjamin enjoy the cake. "I'm glad you like," Elena says, propping her chin on her hand. "I wanted to be a chef actually. Maybe study in Paris….learn French cooking. Come back and open my own restaurant here in New York. Mama thought it was a good dream….she was an excellent cook herself. She died, though…I went into science instead after that." Her dark eyes wander to the window, but she smiles and takes the can of Coke, and blinks at him. "….why? What happened?" she asks, looking at Benjamin. "Did someone try to kidnap you again?"

Benjamin sinks back some into his sofa cushions as he works on chewing up that piece of cake. Yes he's savoring like a kid. He doesn't speak again until it's swallowed. "You really should have. You probably could be a chef in your own restaurant if you wanted to." There's a sympathetic look given to Elena as she speaks of her mother. About to stab the fork at the cake again, he shakes his head. "No.. Rose and I were going to dinner out in Central Park and there was this creepy guy. Rose was herself and he pulled a sword on us."

"I know," Elena says, smiling winningly at Benjamin. "But I think I could help people more if I went into science. Research. Besides…" She laughs. "I can't escape it now. What with Papa being the way he was. His….abilities tend to make him collapse. Right now I'm trying to find a way where he can keep himself from being overloaded." She picks up her cake again and samples it, and nods in satisfaction to herself. But at the last, she blinks. "…..a sword?" she wonders. "That's a little weird. I mean you find all sorts of weapons being carried around New York. Switchblades. Guns. Chains. 2x4s with nails on them. Baseball bats. Stun guns. Pepper spray…" Yes. All born from Paranoid Papa. "But swords? I thought that only happened in movies? Were you or Rose hurt?"

Benjamin takes another bite of the cake, not taking so much time with it as the one before. "That's right, he can hear people's thoughts. That.. yeah.. I think I can see why it could make someone collapse. I think I would too if I heard too many things at once." He sets his plate down so that he can pop open his own can of Coke and to take a drink. "No, we weren't hurt. He.. he also had a gun on himself too. I did the only thing I could do, I made him go to sleep and we ran for it."

"….so that's your special ability?" Elena asks inquisitively - but hesitantly. She doesn't want to pry, something like this was highly personal, after all. "Being able to make people sleep?" she asks. That was intriguing - she didn't know if Benjamin affected the body's biochemical composition to put someone to sleep, or affected the nervous system in itself to be able to pull it off. The budding scientist in her was curious, but she stamps on the urge to ask questions in that vein. That would be rude. "I'm glad you and Rose are okay. But…gah, that sounds crazy! I think ever since Papa witnessed your kidnapping, all sorts of weird stuff keeps happening to me and him. First there's this Company, and then there's this Foundation, and then there's this Sylar-Gabriel Gray guy who's running around…..my source says he might still be alive by the way. He's apparently depicted in a series of…."

She pauses. And she laughs, in a way that was exasperated. "In a series of -paintings-, of all things. Apparently the artist who did them can paint the future. He's some sort of Da Vinci-Nostradamus."

Benjamin shifts a little in his seat and takes another drink of Coke before answering. "That's what I was told, and those doctors at the hospital ran tests. It's.. manipulation of sleep patterns." He's all too happy to move on though to other subjects. It still feels weird to talk about aloud. He nearly drops his can of soda as Elena continues on. "I was told he was dead." Ha ha. Too bad he doesn't know that's who he encountered earlier today! "I found myself thinking earlier today, how glad I was that I could do something so harmless to get out of a bad situation, and now I'm finding myself thinking how nice it would be to just be normal again." He sets the can down on the table before he does drop it. "I honestly don't know how to take all of this weirdness, beyond just one day at a time."

"It just finds me now," Elena says, taking a sip of her coke. "The woman who approached me with all that information. She recognized me from a….hostage situation I was involved with in Central Park a couple of weeks ago. She's….I would like to say she -is- affiliated with the Foundation, but she's not. She just seems connected with the woman who runs it. Arianna Rockford-Johanssen. The woman who rumors say is running for senate. I don't know. I asked her how she could trust someone like that. I mean, these people seem to know about -this- for years. Decades even. So much that they have infrastructures in place to 'deal' with it. Those sorts of people always have an agenda. I can't help but be skeptical. Like I told her…it's so easy to sweep in and appear to be the good guy when the other side is bagging and tagging people."

"That's exactly how I feel," Benjamin admits. "It's like special interest groups who have this .. I don't know.. they act like they know better and are better. I just know I don't like being treated like a child or like I'm some animal.. Sorry.. sorry.." He's just frustrated, it's been a tiring day and he could swear he came close to seeing his life flash before his eyes. "I see what you're saying, it's everything happening at once." For lack of anything else to add at the moment and because it's there, and tasting so good, he takes another bite of the cake.

"Yeah…." Elena pauses, and she looks at Benjamin. "The kid who was with you guys on the roof. He's my best friend. When he was younger, they did the same thing they did to you. He was fourteen then, I think. Or fifteen. He has weird marks on his neck here." She gestures to where it is. "He swears these people who took you were the same that took him, but he doesn't remember anything. I didn't know what they were doing at first, I mean, I don't know what they do to you guys after they take you. But my source mentioned 'bagging and tagging'. I'm a biology major, so the only 'tagging' I know that has nothing to do with the retail industry is ….what they do to animals in the wild when they want to study them in their natural environments. Especially marine animals."

Benjamin slowly sets down the plate back on the coffee table when Elena mentions those marks. He's quiet for an uncomfortable period of time.. could be a few moments, or minutes. It's that sort of silence. "That's what it is," he says quietly and reaches up to unbutton the top button of his collar. He lowers the back to show Elena the marks on his own neck. "..The Company.. they tag and track people like animals." His tone is empty, flat, because he's torn between anger, frustration and depression about such a thing. It's like an permanent invasion of privacy.

She stares at him, wide-eyed. "…..really?" Elena whispers. These were all just theories. Like a true scientist, she doesn't see them as fact until it's proven. But when someone who -has been there- shows her marks, and they look identical like the ones on Drake… she pauses, but she stands up so she could sit nearer to Benjamin to examine them. "….they're the same. On my friend." She looks up at him. "But…-why-? Do they think you're dangerous? And how do you remember? Drake doesn't remember anything except the blonde girl who knocked him out." She refrains from mentioning the Haitian.

The moment Elena's done looking, Benjamin flips his collar back up, hiding them from view again. He rebuttons his collar too. "..I was dangerous. I didn't know I had a power until I caused a bus accident." There's a blanch as he mentions the bus. He tries to not think about it. "I suppose I still remember because they didn't want me to forget how to use my abilities or forget that I had them. I think that could be why anyway. It makes sense to me at any rate."

"Yeah that does make sense…..I had to wonder the other day whether there really -are- good guys for something like this," Elena says softly, glancing down at her hands, remembering Sybil and how much pain she had inflicted her before she got shot. It wasn't her fault. It wasn't her fault. She was about to kill someone. It wasn't her fault. She folds her fingers in together and sighs. "I don't….think the Company is all that bad, but their methods have a lot to be desired. They can't just disrupt people's lives by taking them and treating them like animals to be loosed to their environs again."

Benjamin glances at Elena and nods. "I found myself thinking that a lot. That same thing. I think they forgot somehow they're dealing with people." He falls silent, then gives a small smile towards the young woman. "I'm sorry.. It's.. been a long day. I'm really glad you came by and thank you for the cake. I swear, one of these days, that dinner plan is going to pan out." He lets out a laugh, one borne of stressed amusement. "I never thought that something so simple as a friendly dinner would be so hard to put together."

"It will, I promise. It would be great to see Rose again, too. She and I collaborated a little bit before you returned. But it will happen, I swear it. Papa and I will make it happen at some point." Elena grins at him. "Inject some sense of normalcy in our lives. I kind of miss it too, being normal." She glances down at her hands. "I don't know what I have really. Papa says that I managed to purge poison from his system when he was poisoned trying to stop the guys from taking you. I thought it made sense….ever since I was in high school, when I touched people, they felt better. I thought I just had a really good bedside manner, but the other day…" She sighs. "Someone was about to get shot. I told her to leave him alone, and she just started hurting. She started hurting really bad, and somehow I felt what it was doing to her. Like it was coming from me to begin with. Whatever I have…it's scary. If I can hurt someone like that."

Benjamin's laughter fades and he rests his head back against the sofa cushions. Looks like it was a laugh or cry moment, and he just might feel better for the laughing. "I so miss being normal, while at the same time glad I can do what I can do. It's.. weird." He looks up and over at Elena, a curious expression on his face. "I.. guess this kind of thing is hereditary then.." He raises both hands to scrub tiredly against his face. "I.. honestly don't know what to think anymore. There's a power for everything.. and I understand how you feel. It /is/.. scary. I don't want to hurt anyone either, but I have, without meaning to." He must be tired to be talking so openly with a virtual stranger. (Even if he trusts her by proxy of being Ramon's daughter.)

"It's hardwired into one's genetic structure," Elena says. "But the control center is the brain. I don't have actual data to prove it, not yet. I would need access to a brainwave monitor and a subject where I could see whether the control stems from either the Alpha, Beta, Theta, or Delta waves of the brain." She looks at Benjamin. "You see, when a person is asleep, some of these brainwaves are dormant. There's only one that remains active, I think - I have to double check my books. So if that's the case I know at least one of those waves are -not- responsible for the control of one's powers. It's interesting actually that you said you can control a person's sleep patterns….I think from a cursory perspective that your control stems from an inherent ability to suppress the brainwaves that are normally active when one is awake. But…that's just a hypothesis." She grins sheepishly. "I'm a freshman, what do I know?"

She checks her watch, and then she stands up. "Anyway I'm sorry for stopping by so late. A friend of mine lives in this building - his name is Eric Walker. So I was visiting him. I thought I could drop by with your cake but…" She laughs. "I didn't expect to stay this long chatting with you."

Benjamin simply stares at Elena with a 'huh' expression. Not a bit of that made sense. In fact, it sounded quite like what those doctors were saying around him and explaining. It's all way over his head. "I'm sorry, I think I blacked out for some of that." He gets up when Elena does, "No, it's okay, I was having trouble unwinding, but I do feel better after talking with you. Again, thank you for the cake, it's really good. I don't even think my mom's is that good.. man she would smack me for saying that too."

She laughs. "It's okay. I know. I'm a dork." Elena grins as she rubs the back of her neck. "And a slave to the books. I don't know how I survived high school." She pauses, and she nods. "I feel a little bit better too. I mean I know it's weird - us talking like this when we hardly know each other. Your Papa's friend. I guess it's just….it's hard to know who to trust about something like this. And you're one of the few ones I know who could relate so….I guess it just came out." She smiles. "But I'm glad you enjoyed the cake! And I promise if I ever meet your mom I won't say anything."

Benjamin laughs, "Good, because I think she'd kill me." He smiles at Elena, as he walks her the short distance to the door. "I know, it's all weird. Maybe I should get hit on the head more often in front of people… Then again, I think I'll pass on that. Forget I even said it." He opens the door for Elena and smiles at her. "I'm glad I met your family."

"I'm glad I met yours too," Elena says with a hint of a smile. "Be careful, Mr. Winters. I'm glad you returned home safely. I'm certain it wasn't just us who were worried." She tips him a jaunty salute and a grin, before she heads out.

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