2008-01-03: Strange New Beginning


Elle_icon.gif Sylar_icon.gif

Summary: After shocking her father unconcious and leaving the Company, Elle pays a chance visit to Gray and Sons to find Gabriel.

Date It Happened: January 3rd, 2008

Strange New Beginning

Brooklyn - NYC, Gray and Sons

Elle Bishop's first thoughts upon stepping outside went something like this: I made it out. …what do I do now? All she knew is that she needed to get away from Yamagato Industries, and she couldn't go home — so she left, not knowing where to go or how long it would take them to come for her.

Two hours later, she steps out of a taxi outside the watch shop, her heart sinking into her stomach when she sees it boarded up. This is not her first stop since leaving the Company, but it was her last resort, and to see the boards over the windows is disheartening. She nearly turns back, until a nagging memory prompts her to circle around to the back of the building, and it's here that she raises both hands and hits her palms against the dilapidated secondary door.

Inside the boarded up watch repair shop sits Gabriel in the backroom, alone, with his eyes focused on the table in front of him. With everything that happened in his past involving Elle, Chandra Suresh, the Company, and turning into a killer, there never really was time to properly close the shop down, so it was boarded up, everything inside remaining exactly like it was before.

Sitting at a small table with an assortment of watches laid out before him, Gabriel reaches up and adjusts the multilens he wears. He picks up a watch, taking a seat in the chair and studying it. Things are so much simpler when you're just fixing things. He can't help that his eyes occasionally glance up to the wooden support beam nearby and above him, the same one he tried to hang himself from, or when they move towards the door leading to the front area, the same place he killed Brian Davis. He tries to stay focused on the watch in front of him, and for all intents and purposes, he manages to succeed, until there's a knock at the door.

Jumping slightly, his leg hitting the table and causing the watches to make the slightest noise, he pulls the multilens off of his face and turns to the door, narrowing his eyes. Moving quickly to it, he steps to the side, peering out through one of the boarded up windows, using the slight gaps in between the boards to spy who it is outside. "… Elle?" he says, not too loudly, and he moves to quickly opent eh door, his eyes instantly moving behind her to see if she's being followed— or if she brought the Company knocking.

Elle is alone, standing in the alley behind the building, and if anyone followed her here, they're out of sight. She seems unable to stand still when he opens the door, bouncing slightly on her toes, her fingers fidgeting with the winter coat she wears. Her expression is almost apologetic, but there's a wild, anxious look in her eyes. "I…" She hasn't spoken much since leaving Yamagato Industries, and now she isn't quite sure what she ought to say. "I didn't know where else to go. I tried to call Peter, but he's not answering his phone, and I can't go home."

Keeping the door open halfway, Gabriel sticks his head out through the open space, eyes moving around once again. At the same time, his superhuman hearing is coming into play, listening for the sounds of anyone in the alley whispering into a radio, or any other form of clandestine activity. Once he's satisfied that there's no out there besides the electrokinetic blonde, his eyes move back to Elle, and he takes a step back to open the door a bit more, allowing her room to come inside. "Come in," he says, more than a little confused by her presence here. "Is everything okay?"

That's all the invitation she needs, and Elle is quick to step inside when he moves aside, ducking her head slightly as she moves past him. "No," she says quickly, her voice shaky. Even more disinclined to stay in one place once she's inside, she wanders somewhat aimlessly around the shop, sliding her coat down her arms and leaving it to rest on a table. "Yes." She pauses there, tipping her head back with her eyes closed, shaking her hands out at her sides as if there is something on them she needs to rid herself of. "No," she amends again, teetering on the edge of breaking down now. "I left the Company."

The moment she says she left the Company, he drops the watch he had been carrying in his left hand this entire time on the nearby table with assorted tools and timepieces, and steps towards Elle. "What?" he says, his expression betraying a slight disbelief. "You did? They didn't follow you, did they?" As soon as he says it, his head snaps to the door, his eyes widening slightly, his jaw dropping juuust a bit. He hurries to the window, peering out through the cracks to see if he can see anything. There appears to be no sign of anyone, just like before. He looks back to Elle, frowning slightly, and moves back to the table he was working at before turning around to face her. "What happened?"

"I don't think they know I'm gone yet," Elle replies absently, her voice distant, as she picks up a watch and holds it up to her face. What a strange thing to say, after admitting that she's left them. She winds one of the knobs on the watch, though it does nothing, then places it on the table once more. "Bennet came to my apartment. He had another agent with him, but I wasn't thinking. I should have known that. Standard operating procedure." Shaking her head, she continues, "They knocked me out and took me to see my father. I told him I was finished with the Company, but he wouldn't let me leave, so I— oh, god." Pulling her hair back from her face with her hands, Elle paces the floor quickly, unwilling to meet his eyes, her gaze fixed on the floor. "I hope he's okay."

Listening intently, both to her words and the beat of her heart, it takes a long moment for Gabriel to speak, even after Elle is seemingly finished. Her heart is racing. He can't tell if it's because she's lying, or simply the fact she seems to be slightly freaking out. It would make sense for her to be, if what she's saying is true. "What did you do?" he finally says, not taking his eyes off of her. "Are you done with the Company?"

Elle, too, takes her time in answering his question, though her constant movements don't cease. "Um." Wincing at the words she knows she has to say, she grips her hair tighter in her hands. After a false start or two, she finally manages to speak, her words slow. "I shocked him. My father. He was out cold in his office when I left." She releases her hair, letting it fall unkempt around her face as she looks to Gabriel now. "I can't go back. I don't even know what they would do to me if I did."

She seems to be okay, and she did say they most likely don't know she's gone yet, but Gabriel asks anyway. "Are you okay?" He takes take a step forward, but he pauses after only the one. He can't seem too get to close to her, but that may be because her hands aren't tied down, and she feels to blast him with a shock if need be. "I'm sure he'll be fine," he says, looking at her. "What are you going to do?"

"I— I think I am," Elle replies, though her voice is far from certain, and the entire statement falls short of convincing. Her heart is still galloping away, skipping a beat here and there in its fast pace, but the anxious movements of her hands and fingers have started to slow. She turns her eyes away from him, looking back around the shop in a distracted sort of way. "I don't know what I'm going to do." Tipping her head back, she looks up to the beam for half a second, then looks away again. Running a finger a long the dusty clocks, one corner of her mouth turns up in a slight smile. "Anything I want."

Remaining silent, Gabriel turns away from Elle, looking down at the table full of timepieces. He picks one up, much like Elle did before, and with his other hand, he picks up a tool, inserting it in a tiny hole on the side, a soft click coming from it as he pops the back off. "That's good," he finally responds to her being okay, his eyes still focused on the gears of the watch as he turns back to her, glancing up occasionally. "Anything you want," he repeats, a small smile pulling at the corner of his lip. He's highly surprised Elle actually //left/ the Company, like both he and Peter told her she could, but he knows it's a good thing.

It's much easier to remain calm when she isn't alone with her thoughts, Elle thinks, as she turns away from the clocks and turns back to Gabriel. For a second or two she watches him work, falling silent, her heartbeat slowing to a more normal pace and her hands flexing once more before she tucks them into her pockets. "I have to go back to my apartment," she says haltingly, unable to suppress a slightly anxious tone. "I don't have anything with me - no clothes, no money." Pausing, she tips her head to one side, watching him closely. "Come with me."

Eyes still focused on the watch with the exception of an occasional glance in her direction, it's when she says to come with ehr that he finally looks up and watches her for a moment, before he finally sets down the timepiece on the table behind him, the tool along with it. "Go with you?" he repeats, taking a look at her coat. No clothes, no money. He's been there, very recently as a matter of fact, until he went shopping with Peter. "Okay, I'll go with you," he says, turning his eyes back to her. If the Company is there waiting, or ambushes her when she leaves.. he was one of the people who told her to leave them, so he feels at least partly responsible for what happened. The least he can do is go with her and make sure she's okay. Not that she probably needs it with her power.

It was a selfish request to make, asking him to come with her like that, but Elle had little choice in the matter. She can't be certain that the Company hasn't already discovered what she did to her father, and if they have, they may well have sent someone to her apartment to collect her. Again. If it's anything like last time, she'll need help from someone like Gabriel to keep her freedom.

We'll be fast," she says, moving to take her coat and pulling it back on. She pulls her hair out from beneath the collar, fastening the buttons. "I just need to grab a few things." There's clearly no way she could take everything, even with how little she has of her own. "Let's go."

Moving to a coat rack near the backdoor, Gabriel grabs his own coat from one of the hooks, slipping his arms into it and pulling it tight around him, ignoring the buttons in the front. He doesn't worry about moving anything to its proper place in the shop— for all he knows, they may never return here. "How are we going to get there?" he says, pulling the door open and looking to her.

"I have enough cash on me to get us there," Elle replies, slipping a hand into the pocket of her coat to ensure that it's still where she'd left it. "Don't worry." She looks to him with a nervous smile, fleeting at best. "Okay. Let's go."

Some time later, as getting anywhere in New York takes time, Elle is leading Gabriel up to her apartment with an apprehension she hadn't had in the watch shop. In fact, since the moment they left the taxi outside the building, she has been on edge. She has no idea what to expect, and as she slides the key into the lock, she finds herself relieved, at least, that the door doesn't look to have been forced open. Then again, would they even need to force it? They probably have a key.

"Here goes nothing." One slight hesitation later, Elle steps into her quiet apartment, instantly giving it a once-over to ensure there's nothing amiss. Not that her cursory glance allows her to take note of all that many details; it's much too quick, but what she can establish is that there's no one in plain view. Vegetables are sitting out on the counter, some of them chopped, all having been neglected since the day before when she was pulled away from her preparations. She wrinkles her nose, stepping towards the hallway. "I'll be quick."

Moving up the steps towards her apartment, Gabriel remains directly behind Elle, eyes and ears open for any sign of trouble around them. All seems to be fine, and while he's sure the two of them could handle almost anything the Company could throw at them, he would much rather this happen without a confrontation. Who knows what they might come up with to capture either of them.

He follows her into the apartment, still watching their surroundings carefully. He glances over to the wall where they talked a few nights previous, and then to the table where they had tea. He looks over to Elle when she steps towards the hallway, giving her a nod even though she can't see it. Crossing his arms loosely in front of his chest, he moves into the living area, glancing around but not really taking anything in. While Elle is taking care of what she's tending to in the back, he calls to her down the hallway. "Where are you going to stay? They'll be after you, won't they?"

"Probably," is Elle's response called back down the hallway, spoken almost nonchalantly. She's considered this eventuality, clearly. "I don't think they're going to let me walk away from this. They know about you being here." Just like they know that the two of them are here right now, she thinks, but isn't about to say aloud. The thought is terrifying, having the tables turned on her like this; she's used to being on the other end of the Company's mission.

In the bedroom, she has a duffel bag open on the bed, and she's quickly stuffing clothing inside. She's keeping her selections down to a minimum, tossing a brush and other items into the space left over. It's strange, knowing that Company agents could very well be going through her things in the next few hours. She's intentionally not answering his question about her future accommodations, though she has no way of knowing if he's understood why she's avoiding it. Maybe what she said earlier was explanation enough.

When she reappears in the living room, the bag is slung over her shoulder and she has a gun in her hands, checking to ensure that it's loaded. It isn't a threatening gesture; she hasn't even looked up from the weapon as she moves back into the room, let alone pointed it at anything. "I think I have everything I need."

"They knew I was here?" Gabriel starts towards the hallway when she says that, coming to a stop just short of it, looking down it. He's not about to go any further, but what she just said has him slightly more on edge. "Elle. How do they know I was here?" Either she told them, or someone was spying on them. He has no idea which one is more likely.

When she moves back to the living room, he takes a step back, eyes falling to the gun. He doesn't look worried at the sight of it; if anything, it's a welcome addition. He turns his eyes back up at her, taking another look around before finally settling his gaze on the door. "Then we should go," he says, wanting to get out of here as fast as possible, especially when a certain man with horn-rimmed glasses pops into mind. "Where are you going to go? I can take you there, make sure no one gives you any trouble."

Saying anything is liable to be dissected and investigated by the Company, but Elle can't very well dodge his question a second time without arousing suspicion. Giving her guest a pointed look, she makes a motion over her mouth as if to tell him to keep quiet and says, "There's someone I used to know who will let me stay with her for a while. I'll go there." It's a blatant lie, but she speaks slowly enough to keep from sounding anxious.

From the fridge, she retrieves a few pieces of fruit she'd kept in there, a bottle of water, but that's all she's about to bring. It's really all she had that could be easily transported. Finally, she takes a bag from the closet and a handful of things out of the pockets of her coats, anything she thinks she might need that she would still be able to use. Gesturing to the door, she says, "Let's get out of here."

"We'll go there, then," Gabriel says, and it isn't clear whether he understood any signals she was sending or not. He stays where he is, watching her silently as she moves to the fridge, occasionally glancing towards the doors and windows for any sign that they might be being watched by any outsiders. The Company hasn't shown up so far, and he's hoping they still won't.

Whens he gestures towards the door, he nods, heading in that direction and coming to a stop just in front of the door. He places his hand on the doorknob, turning towards her, and there's a small hint of a smile on his face. "You'll have to lead the way," he says, waiting for her to exit so he can pull the door closed behind them.

The apple in her hand is stuck between her teeth, freeing her hand so she can hold the strap of the bag with one hand, the other tucking the gun into the waist of her jeans beneath her coat. As she steps out into the hall, Elle arches her eyebrows with as much of a smirk as she can manage around the apple. It's an effective way to keep her quiet during the walk outside, since she can't be sure how much of the building they have under surveillance.

Back out in the frigid air, Elle is even less comfortable, acutely aware of all the places an agent might be hidden in order to watch her. Paranoia doesn't sit well with her. Pulling the apple from her mouth and taking a bite, she shrinks back against the wall of the building. No one is standing nearby, or sitting, or watching them intently, so she risks speaking more openly now that they're outside. "I have no idea where to go," she finally admits, shaking her head. "Not here."

Following behind Elle, Gabriel looks down each passing hallway, towards every door, and at every window they happen to pass on the walk outside. He doesn't want to be ambushed now, and if it's going to happen, he would rather be prepared and see the person coming. He may have his abilities, but a tranquilizer dart to the neck will make quick work of that. Paranoia isn't sitting too well with him, either.

Once they're outside, he turns to look at Elle, moving to the wall just beside her, his eyes darting around the area immediately in front of them. "I've been staying at my shop," he says, turning his head to the right so he can look down at her, tucking his hands into the pockets of his coat. "You could stay there. The warehouse I was at needs a new door, but it's there if the Company doesn't know about it. Peter might have a place, or know someone you can stay with. We'll find somewhere where they can't get to you."

"If I could find it, the Company can find it," Elle replies to the suggestion of the warehouse, shaking her head. "And they'll be watching Peter, too. I can't stay with either of you without putting you at risk, too." She flicks a glance to the street, watching as the cars pass. "I'll find somewhere to stay for tonight that won't ask questions and will let me pay in cash. Tomorrow, I'll find somewhere else." Nevermind that she has no car, limited funds now, and absolutely no acquaintances other than Gabriel and Peter on the outside of the Company - at least, certainly not acquaintances who would help her hide.

"Elle, that's ridiculous," Gabriel responds, turning his entire body towards her now, leaning against one shoulder as he looks at her. He quickly glances out towards the street, keeping one eye on the cars and people as he turns his attention back towards Elle. "I'm already at risk. You need people on your side nearby, in case anything happens. What if they send someone after you? What if someone is already after you?"

Taking another bite of the apple, Elle casts a glance back over her shoulder, giving passersby longer looks than might be deemed polite. "I don't know," she says in frustration, not with him but with herself, tipping her head back against the wall behind her. "You shouldn't have to…" She stumbles over the next word, hating the way it sounds in her head, but hating it more when she says it aloud: "…protect me. They're going to come for me eventually. I don't want you or Peter getting dragged into this." It's not exactly a no, though. It's just a protest.

"You can protect yourself," Gabriel responds, a hand absentmindedly finding its way up to his chest. It just happens to be one of the places she's shocked him before. "You and I both know that. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have help." He looks out into the street, and he turns towards it, bringing a hand up to gently grab her by the upper arm. "Come on," he says, taking a quick look around. "We shouldn't stay here for very long." Looking back at her, he shakes his head. "You didn't drag me into this. I came with you willingly, didn't I?"

It's the hand on her arm that finally snaps her back to her senses, and Elle gives him a quick nod in response. "Okay," she finally agrees, ducking her head as she walks back towards the street. "I'll stay with you." Again, the surreality of her new life hits her like a wave: she's just agreed to hide out with a serial killer who once wanted to kill her (and vice versa). It's a very strange new beginning. Before she can change her mind, she raises a hand to flag a taxi down. In good faith, she pulls open the door and takes her seat inside first, sliding over to the far seat to give him space.

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