2008-01-25: So Much For Normal


Elle_icon.gif Gabriel_icon.gif Bob_icon.gif

Summary: What starts out as a very surreal and peaceful moment in time becomes something very different when Elle calls her father to find out what the Company wanted.

Date It Happened: January 25th, 2008

So Much For Normal

Peter Petrelli's Apartment, NYC

After having accepted Peter's invitation to stay at his apartment, moved there, and gotten settled in, Gabriel is currently sitting on the couch in the living area, eyes focused on the TV in front of him. Some sort of infomercial. He's barely paying attention to it, the only reason it's on to provide a background noise in the empty apartment, more than anything. The silence is unsettling.

He picks up the remote, flipping through the channels, until he finally settles on the History channel. Some show about old warplanes. It doesn't exactly interest him, but it's better than the infomercial it was on.

Long before the door opens, the sound of two sets of feet, one human and one canine, heralds Elle's arrival. A leash is looped around one wrist, a pair of plastic bags hanging from the other, making the task of unlocking the door something of a challenge. It seems as though it's been years since she last set foot in this apartment, though in reality it's only been weeks. "Gabriel?" she calls as she pushes open the door, allowing the small white dog to burst into the apartment with a flurry of sound. The leash drops from her hand so that she might nudge the door closed with a foot and slide the locks into place once more, leaving the dog free to roam.

The TV distracting him, he doesn't notice the arrival of Elle until the sound of the key in the lock betrays her presence. He stands from the couch, muting the TV as he does, and he heads towards the door, stopping just short of the entrace to the apartment as she walks in. The small white dog bounds past, and he moves his leg to allow her past him. watching as it does so. He turns his eyes back to Elle, a small smile briefly flashing across his face, extending a hand to offer help with the bags she's carrying. "Anything eventful happen?"

Funny you should ask," Elle says, an appreciative smile on her face as she hands the grocery bags over to the outstretched hand, leaving her own hands free to remove her coat and winter attire. When she's draped her coat, with her mittens and scarf tucked safely into one sleeve, over the back of a kitchen chair, she drops to a crouch to call the dog over once more. "Because the answer is nothing. Nothing eventful happened." She ruffles the dog's fur with both hands before removing the leash from her collar. "It was kind of nice."

Taking the grocery bags from Elle, Gabriel turns and heads towards the kitchen, keeping his attention on the living area so he can hear Elle. Putting the groceries away quickly, most likely where they're not supposed to go as he isn't used to this place yet, he sets the bags to the side, moving back to the living area. Standing near the end of the couch, he looks over at Elle, crossing his arms over his chest. "That's good," he says, eyes falling to the dog. "This is Peter's? What's her name?"

Rising back to her feet with the dog in her arms, Elle buries her face into the dog's fur, letting out a quiet laugh when the dog squirms and tries to lick her face. "Snowy," she replies, carrying the dog with her back into the living room and dropping down into a chair. "I used to have a dog. Goblin. Another agent and I got them as puppies." The dog leaps out of her arms and down to the floor. "Someone stole him. I couldn't find him before I left. I don't know if she— " The other Elle, though it may not be clear. "— ever found him."

Gabriel can't help the smile that breaks out over his face as Elle buries her face into the dog's fur and laughs, and he moves to sit on the couch, sitting so he can lean slightly on the arm of it. He looks down at the dog once Elle lets it on the floor, watching as it roams around the room. The smile is still on his face, although not as big as before, and he looks back up at Elle, glancing at Snowy occasionally. "I'm sorry to hear that," he says, frowning slightly. "I've never really owned any pets."

"Me either," Elle replies, shaking her head as she draws her feet up onto the cushion. "They wouldn't let me have any." They. Not her father. There's a mischievous slant to her words as she continues. "I wasn't supposed to keep Goblin at the Company. He was staying with my friend, since she had an apartment. But sometimes I snuck him in." Leaning over in the chair, she snatches a toy from the floor and presses it to make it squeak, gaining the attention of the dog. "My grandmother had a cat, when I was a kid. Not a fan." When the dog is sufficiently interested in the toy, Elle tosses it at Gabriel without a word.

The tossed toy catches Gabriel offguard, but he manages to catch it, fumbling with it in his hands for a moment before finally getting a grip. He then turns his eyes to the dog immediately, who has setup shop directly in front of him. They stare at each other for a long, long moment, and finally Gabriel squeaks the toy, before tossing it towards the other end of the room. He turns back to Elle, waiting to see if Snowy goes to grab the toy.

What a difference a few weeks can make. Had someone said, six months ago, that Elle would be sitting in a living room watching Sylar play with a small dog, she wouldn't have believed them. She certainly wouldn't have expected to feel as at ease as she does. It's with a surreal sensation that she watches Gabriel throw the toy for Snowy, a faint smirk touching her face when the little dog tears across the room after it. "I should call them," she says absently, tipping her head back against the chair and letting out a breath. "As much as I want to sit here and not think about them for one day, I should find out what they wanted from me."

When Snowy brings the toy back, Gabriel accepts it from her, tossing it across the living room again before looking back up at Elle. "I'm not sure. Angela said she wanted to talk to you, but she didn't say what about." When Snowy returns with the toy this time, he tosses it at Elle, giving her a smirk when he does. "What do you think they want?"

"Probably to threaten me some more," Elle says dismissively as she shoves herself back up to her feet, rolling her eyes. "Or tell me to stay away from Peter, or— who knows?" Procuring an elastic from her pocket, she ties her hair back into a ponytail as she returns to the kitchen, fishing her phone from the pocket of her coat. "They put me through hell for sixteen years. Why stop now?" Stepping back towards the living room, she pauses in the doorway, leaning her shoulder against the frame. "Or maybe they want nothing. You're sure I'm supposed to call Angela, specifically?" Even as she's asking the question, Elle flips the phone open and punches in a number.

"Eventually they'll learn threats don't do much to help the situation," Gabriel says, leaning forward on the couch so he can scritch Snowy behind the ears once Elle heads towards the kitchen. He allows the dog to hop up into his lap, idly petting her as he watches Elle dial the number on the phone. "I'm not sure. When I talked to her, she said 'we' needed to talk to you. She didn't clarify beyond that, but I didn't give her time to. She'll probably talk to you herself, if it's concerning Peter."

The voice that intercepts Elle's rings does not belong to Angela. No, it belongs to the person she, in fact, called. "This is Bishop," the familiar voice, made tinnier through the phone line, answers.

"Hi, Daddy." The voice that greets him on the phone is saccharine, chipper - and very familiar. Elle doesn't need to introduce herself any more overtly than this. Hearing his voice does inspire a strange conflict in her mind, however, and some of her bravado fails her now. She ought to have called Angela. She's never had a problem standing up to her. Holding the phone to her ear, she watches Gabriel and the dog as she speaks, her free hand toying with a strand of her hair. "Someone said you wanted to talk to me." Statement, not a question, and with a strong overtone of impatience.

Snowy turns towards Gabriel in his lap, and the man turns his eyes towards her, shaking his head at her playfully and scritching her behind the ears as to make her fur all fluffed up. This is a surreal thing to witness, as the man used to kill people and take their powers. Now he's sitting in Peter Petrelli's apartment playing with his dog, closing his eyes and grinning as she tries to lick his face. He does glance back over to Elle, however, when she says 'Daddy.' He's only half-paying attention to the dog now, turning on the couch slightly so he's facing in Elle's direction.

"… Elle." Bob's voice stays quite flat after his realization of his caller's identity. It's forced that way, but some urgency escapes as he adds, "Where are you?" The last time he spoke to his daughter, she was knocking him unconscious with a jolt of electricity.

"I'm back in New York now," Elle chirrups sweetly, pulling away from the wall and stepping further into the living room. "I'm staying with a friend." Which is true, in a sense. In two senses, even. Although she isn't certain she'd call Gabriel a friend, per se. As she passes before the couch, she reaches out to ruffle the dog's fur— and then she does the same to Gabriel, too, with a smirk. "So what did you and Angie want to talk to me about?"

"Details of your life now that you've turned from the Company," Bob answers, continuing to be blunt as he goes on to say, "The Company will always be part of your life, Elle, I hope you realize that."

Gabriel's eyes follow Elle as she moves across the living room, tossing the dog toy from earlier at her in retaliation to the hair ruffling. Playfully, of course. He turns his eyes back to Snowy, sritching her behind the ears again, but he's still listening to Elle, wondering what Bob is saying on the other end of the line. He could use his abilities to amplify the hearing, but an odd feeling of intruding would nag at him if he did. So, for now, he just remains quiet and listens to Elle's side.

"You think I could forget that?" Bob will have to excuse the bitter tone that seeps into Elle's voice when she speaks. She catches the dog toy in one hand, carrying it with her as she paces the living room. "The Company's responsible— " No, she shouldn't step over the line and begin accusing him. She's not looking to land herself back in the Company's sight, and if she pushes too many buttons… "What kind of details? Why do you even care any more?" Each of them will notice the edge of suspicion that has settled over her now, but Gabriel has the benefit of body language to reinforce it.


Bob, of course, does not excuse the tone of bitterness in Elle's voice. He expects it, yes, but his own tone is instantly chastising. "Your actions make me believe otherwise. Maybe you do forget that you wouldn't be here if it weren't for the Company. Can we meet like civilized adults to discuss this, Elle?" He stops, for a second. It's quiet where he is, no sounds at all save for Bob attempting to reign in a tense sigh. "I want you to know that I haven't given up on you. You're my daughter and I— "

Sharp, loud noises fill the air, sounding like two cracks of a pistol.

A dull clatter follows, a clatter close to Elle's ear as her father's phone falls onto a hard surface.


Her resolve has been strengthening with each second spent on the phone with her father, to the point where Elle can't imagine a time when she wasn't absolutely certain that leaving the Company was the right thing to do. Even as her father chastises her - with a tone that would have broken her down a short few months ago, had her apologizing and pleading for another chance - she only tenses, gearing up to snap back at him.

It all comes crashing down at the sharp cracks.

The change in her demeanor is instant. She very nearly drops the phone, every suggestion of self-satisfaction stripped from her face until she's left with nothing but abject fear. Her voice sounds unfamiliar, childish, and urgent as she presses the phone hard against her ear. "Daddy?! Wh— what was that?"


Gabriel continues to play with Snowy, petting her and scritching her behind the ears, shaking his nose at her and pulling away everytime she tries to lick his face. Elle seems to be doing fine on the phone, and considering the dog has been locked up in a kennel for who knows how long, so she deserves some attention. It's only when Elle cries out in alarm that he glances up at her, setting Snowy down on the floor and standing to move closer to the woman. "What is it?" he says, concern slowly taking over his features.

"Say something, Daddy," Elle pleads into the phone, a strange reversal from the defiance she relished in mere minutes before. "Please. Please just say something." When no sound comes, she lets out a helpless sound, turning back to face Gabriel without meeting his gaze. Several times, she tries to speak, to no avail. All that she can get out is one word - barely a word at all, just a single syllable, a letter. "I…" And over again. I, I, I. But where one might expect her to be frantic, to have tears stinging her eyes and her legs go weak, Elle resists. Slowly, reluctantly, she pulls the phone from her ear and snaps it shut. Gritting her teeth, she allows her eyes to close for a second or two, taking a deep breath. "I have to go," she says finally, looking to Gabriel sharply. "Stay here." So much for that uneventful day. She turns away from him now, headed for the kitchen to retrieve her coat.

Something is wrong. He doesn't know what Elle heard, but it doesn't look like it's anything good. He takes a step closer to Elle, bringing his hands up to place each on her upper arms. "Elle, what happened?" When she looks up at him, and turns away, he's right in step behind her, reaching a hand out to place on her shoulder and hopefully hold her in place. "Hold it," he says, his tone firm, but gentle. "Tell me what happened. You can't go running out of here without letting me know what's going on."

Gripping the phone tightly in one hand, Elle stops when Gabriel takes hold of her arm, looking back to him over her shoulder. "I don't know," she admits, hating that the words are spoken honestly. "One second he's talking, the next there's two loud bangs and the line's dead." Silent, anyway - but that's a technicality. "I have to go make sure he's okay. And since I'm about to call every agent I can think of to go check on him, I don't want them to trace my phone to here in case they get any bright ideas." That, and if it's as bad as she thinks it might be, she'd rather be alone when she finds out. But she can't say that to him, admit that slight weakness, so she leaves it unsaid and shakes her head again. "And you need to stay here in case Peter comes back."

"We can leave a note for Peter if we have to," Gabriel says, stepping up to Elle, his hand still on her shoulder. "If you're going to go, you can't go alone. You don't know what's waiting for you there. It could be a trap. There could be someone there waiting for you. You have no idea. I know he's your father, Elle, but you have to be careful. Isn't there anyone you can call, someone you trust, to go check on him?" He looks around, as if the answer would be right here in the apartment, before turning back to Elle.

"I'm not going there," Elle says, and even she doesn't know if that's a lie. Right now, her intention is not to walk into that building in search of her father. Depending on what her contacts say, however… well, things change. "I just don't want to be here when I call." As if this settled every last concern Gabriel might have on the matter, she sets the phone down just long enouch to slip her coat on, then it's right back in her hand. "I have to get out of here, Gabriel. You need to stay here. Please." She flips the phone open, turning to face him at last and meeting his gaze with a level stare. "I promise that I will come back and get you if I think I need to go and find him myself."

The man stares at Elle for a long moment, his lips narrow, his gaze scrutinizing. Gabriel finally relaxes, concern slowly settling over his features again, and he takes his hand off of Elle's shoulder, but not before quickly brushing her cheek with his thumb. "Okay," he says, stepping back and away from her, heading towards the couch. "Don't run out on me," he says as he takes a seat, turning his shoulders so he can glance back at her, his voice that same, gentle tone as before. "Be careful."

When she's bundled herself against the cold, her scarf wrapped around her neck and her gloves pulled on, Elle turns back to Gabriel. She crosses to the sofa, her boots clacking across the floor with each step. "Always am," she lies outright, stooping to kiss him chastely before she stands again and steps back. "I'll see you in a while." With that, she's gone, already punching in a number as she reaches for the door and disappears into the hallway.

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