2007-11-23: Static Charge


Elle_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: After leaving Bat Country, Peter's unwilling to let her go home on her own. He tells her about facing off with Sylar as well.

Date It Happened: November 23rd, 2007

Static Charge

Seville Medical Center

Outside the lab, Elle stumbles quickly for the stairs, her coat still draped over her arm. She leans heavily on the railing as she ascends, gripping it tightly with both hands to keep her balance. Her head is bowed, but the sound she makes as she pulls herself up to the sidewalk is easily identifiable as a stifled sob. She's moving quickly, hoping to get to the street and hail a cab before a certain someone is likely to stop her. For the moment, at least, there is no hum of static.

Certain someone being one Peter Petrelli? Well, he's doing his best to catch up with her, tossing the coat on mid-stride as he bounds up the stairs. He's a lot healthier, so catching her doesn't take any extraordinary effort, and he reaches out once he's close enough, trying to grab her arm and risking an electrical shock. "I can get you there without the cab Elle, just stop for a minute, please." She might just go and run off anyway. "I need to tell you something. The people you work for already know. If my mom didn't tell the others in charge, Bennet did, but I think you should know too."

No charge when he touches her, but Elle does try to shrug off his hand; weak as she is in her current state, she's not exactly capable of wrenching her arm free, unless he's planning to give up easily. "Let me go," she says, her voice somewhere between bitter and pleading, and it's clear she's trying not to lose her composure entirely. Still, she doesn't look him in the eye as she speaks, keeping her eyes on the ground and her hair obscuring her face. "I have to go find my father."

"Cass could be wrong about your dad being sick, Elle," Peter says, still trying to hold onto her as she struggles against him. "I know your father means a lot to you, but listen— if he's not showing symptoms, he's only got half of the virus. The half that we picked up in Mount Sinai— the quarantine there. It was after you left, but your father was in it too, so was Nathan and Elena and me. All of us were in it. That's where it started. But just because he has that, it doesn't mean he's sick. We all had that for months and nothing happened— nothing would have if not for what happened at the rally in the future— if I hadn't brought the second half back. Your father may not have that."

Something convinces her to stop, though not without some small amount of struggling against his grip. She's silent for a long moment, processing his words, thinking it through. She isn't even sure she really understands what he's telling her - half the virus? Slowly, her head tips just enough for her to look up at him, her eyes narrowed skeptically. Her face betrays her concern for her father; somewhere between leaving the lab and this moment, she had been crying, though she isn't now. "I have to see," she says defiantly, shaking her head. "He hides things. He could be hiding this."

Peter's grip doesn't loosen as she stops struggling, and he moves a second hand to rest on her shoulder, almost as if to offer her additional support, rather than to stop her from getting away. "You're right," he says softly. "Your father does hide things— and he could be infected. But they are going to fix this, I promise." Reassuring sounds, promises that he's not sure that he can keep. At least two people dead already, right? His eyes drift upward and away for a moment, as if considering something. Then he looks back again, "Okay— does your father still have the same office? I can try to take you there instead of your apartment."

"He wouldn't be there," Elle mutters, her entire demeanor the very picture of misery, as she relents to his grip. He might feel a shiver now that she's standing still in the cold air without her coat. "He'd be at home." For a second she seems to consider another way to make this work; for Peter to bring her somewhere nearby, or for her to make a break for it and get there herself. But she doesn't move, and instead looks back to Peter again with a resigned expression. "If he's not already," she says, acutely aware of the way her stomach is tying itself in knots the more time she's left to think, "could I— would I make him sick?"

Letting his hand drop away from her shoulder, Peter actually lets go of her at that question, compassion in his eyes, but one that doesn't seem as forceful as it'd been a moment ago. "I don't know for sure, Elle. You haven't sparked for a while— you might be able to make a phone call instead. You couldn't infect him that way." He even starts to reach into his pocket, pulling out his own phone, checking to make sure it wasn't fried by her surge earlier.

Elle doesn't even bother checking her own, knowing full well it's likely needing to be replaced now. Her eyes fix on the phone in Peter's hand, staring it down as she considers whether or not she ought to call. Her concern is readily apparent, but that doesn't mean she ought to call him and confront him like that. After all, she was in denial— and does she really want to explain to him why she has to call from Peter Petrelli's phone and not her own? "…no," she says, using the sleeve of her sweater to brush her cheeks. "I'll just— go home."

"You will be okay, Elle. Look at me all right?" Peter says, trying to move in a way to catch her eye. He's perfectly healthy now, where he wouldn't have been a few weeks ago. But it's not him that he was ever worried about. "This thing can be fixed— they're on to something already. Just don't give up hope. I promise you we'll share whatever we find as soon as we get it. We want this thing stopped— no matter who has it." There's something about this that makes him try to reassure her even more than he might have to. "Come on, I'll get you home," he says, holding a hand out to her. "Same place you took Kitty, right?" This section of the stairwell is empty. They could vanish and no one would notice.

"Yeah." Willing herself to look him in the eye now, Elle still doesn't lift her head more than she has to. Nothing about her expression looks convinced by his reassurances, but she doesn't protest any more, at least, nor does she try to get away again. "Just tell them to work fast," she says, and under more normal circumstances, she might give in to a little smirk. Not tonight. Though she's already agreed, there's some lingering reluctance preventing her from reaching out right away; she hesitates, frowning. Finally, however, she reaches out her hand, warm to the touch, to take his.

"I will," Peter says softly. "I want this thing cured more than anyone. Because it's my fault," he adds on, closing his eyes once her hand is gripping his. There's a sound of footsteps coming down the hall, but by the time the person reaches the stairwell, they're both gone, not even leaving the sound of footsteps.

Elle's Apartment

There's a shifting sound, though, for the, as the atmosphere they stand in changes in temperature, color tone, and airpressure. Her apartment is darker, warmer and more confided than the open hallways and stairwells. His eyes reopen, a hint of relief in his breath. "Do you need anything? Do you have orange juice and soup and— all that other stuff?"

The trip would be mildly confusing on a normal day, but in her state, Elle finds it particularly disorienting. As they appear in her aparmtent, she is overcome with dizziness and she stumbles, grabbing onto Peter's arm to steady herself. Her grip is tight, her hands warm. She quickly mumbles something akin to an apology and moves away, fumbling for a light switch in the dark. "I have what I need," she replies, as if that really answered his question, as she turns on the light. In the sudden brightness, she starts down the hallway, her coat left on the floor by the switch, trailing one hand along the wall to support herself.

At the disorientation, another arm comes up to touch her shoulder. Peter holds onto her for a few moments before he feels it's okay to let his hands drop, and she moves away for a lightswitch. He follows a few steps behind. "All right. I just wanted to make sure you would be okay by yourself." There's a pause. "What I was going to tell you earlier— I fought Sylar again. I brought it up to my mother, and Mr. Bennet knows about it, so I'm sure that the people who can still do field work already know— but since you told me that he'd escaped, I figured you should know that… I fought him."

This time, it's the name that causes her to stop, and Elle pauses in the doorway to her bedroom, her hand closing tightly around the frame. The static hum this time isn't quite as noticeable, the lights never so much as dimming, but there's a crack as another quick spark courses up her arm, this one much shorter-lived than the last. He might not even see it, and her reaction isn't as overt as before; she only grits her teeth, her back to Peter. "I guess I don't have to ask how it turned out," she says, glancing back over her shoulder to Peter before she steps into her room. "You shouldn't fight him alone, Peter." Says the girl who's done the same a time or two before.

"I won, actually, something just got in the way," Peter says, giving her a quiet look, before he shakes his head. "Don't worry about me. I'd rather fight him alone. The one time I didn't fight him alone, the person with me got electricuted nearly to death. Having someone else there is a distraction that I can't afford." There's a stubborness in his voice as he says that. "I just want you to be careful. He won't come after you for your ability anymore, but he might try to go after the Company again." He starts to move to get to the door, checking his coat and making sure it's tied around him. "I'll leave you alone to get some rest if you don't need anything."

The knowledge that he won't come for her goes hand in hand with the knowledge that Sylar nearly electrocuted someone to death; Elle winces, picking up a knitted throw on her way through her room. He might come for her anyway, she thinks, though she doesn't say it aloud. For a second, she looks like she might just let Peter leave like that, without another word, without so much as a goodbye. Finally, however, she moves back to the doorway, holding onto the frame for support again. "Peter," she says to call him back, resting her sallow cheek against the doorframe, looking to him with a reluctant sort of gratitude. It takes her a few seconds to work up to what she has to say next, and it's with a small voice that she continues. "Thanks."

By the time his name pulls him to a stop, Peter's already touched the doorknob, intending to open it, the locks already undone. He stops, glancing back at her, waiting for the words she follows up with. The thanks must not be what he expected, if the blinking is any indication. He takes in a slow breath and inclines his chin. "You're welcome, Elle. I still owe you— for getting me out of Kirby Plaza. I'm sorry I couldn't do the same for you. If that was even what you honestly wanted." There's a slow inhale, before he opens the door. "I'll see you later. Call if your symptoms get any worse— and we'll call when we have a cure. I promise." If she doesn't stop him again, he'll slip outside and close the door behind him.

As soon as the door is closed, Elle pulls back into her room, crawling into the bed. She'll call her father, but not until she's gotten some rest and is more composed. She isn't even convinced that this state will allow her any real rest, knowing that Sylar is out there somewhere, that Peter almost had him but something got in the way. Knowing that her father might be sick, too. Draping the knitted throw over her comforter for added warmth, Elle rests her head against the pillow and closes her eyes.

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