2007-10-29: The Audacity Of Hope

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: A day after Dr. Aldric's tests, Peter discovers one of his worst fears realized as the virus starts affecting his ability to access his powers. Elena discovers the same thing happening to her.

Date It Happened: October 29th, 2007

The Audacity Of Hope


Petrelli Mansion, Hyde Park, New York

Trying to maintain a fairly normal sleep schedule, Peter's been forced to stay awake most of the day. Video games of various kinds, book reading, conversations with the girlfriend— all of it has taken a toll, but also made it so he didn't have to think quite as much about the possibility he's caused all of them to possibly die somewhere down the line. Even if it's not quite dark outside, though, he's in the bathroom getting ready for bed, or at least the lay around and relax stage of the day that may lead to sleep eventually. Brushing his teeth and shaving his face, it's a routine he's gotten used to. His hair has grown out enough that it's starting to curl on his forehead again.

Then he does what he tries to do every few hours. Use one of his abilities. The common one he chooses for this is one of his easiest ones. The glass he uses to rince after brushing his teeth raises up off of the counter slowly, wobbly. There's a sudden frown. It visibly starts to shake.

Then it falls, grasp completely lost, shattering on the sink and spilling water and broken glass everywhere. All he can really do for the moment is stare down at the sink, watching the rince-water drain away, leaving just the glass behind.

She isn't in the room. If she smoked, she'd be outside doing it. Since Elena was pretty smoke-free and predominantly drink-free she's probably not doing that. At the moment, she was making her way upstairs, one of the books in the Petrelli study's library in her hand. She stood a huge possibility of dying. She was only going to get worse before she got better, if she was going to get better at all. Her boyfriend's girlfriend turned out to still be herself hence still the woman he loved in the earliest months of 2007. Said ex-girlfriend's father was an evil bastard who used him. Her nuncle was seriously ill. She doesn't know how to break it to her father. She doesn't know how to break it to her family. Out of all the nights in her relatively short life tonight was a night to read something to get things back into perspective.

Opening the door to the guest bedroom, she sets down the Petrellis' copy of The Little Engine That Could.

This is when she hears the glass shatter.

"….Peter?" she wonders out loud with a frown, moving to the door of the bathroom that came with the guest suite they both shared. Before this entire thing started, there were nights where they didn't see each other. Now, it was pretty much every day, and sleeping on the same bed every night. If they ever got to the end of the tunnel, adjustment to a regular schedule is going to be interesting.

Optimistic light reading certain would be on the menu. For one it's about the only sentances that people can string together with so much else on their minds. Peter has yet another thing dropped into his lap. Or in the sink in front of him, to be more accurate. He takes in a slow breath, holding his hand over the shards of glass, big and small. They tremble, but they don't raise up. One of his easiest abilities and he can't even grasp onto them as much as he should be able to, not long enough to lift them up. The voice at the door causes him to cease his attempts and he looks over. The door wasn't closed, since the bedroom was empty, so they can see each other pretty face.

"I'm losing it," he says softly, voice hoarse, quieter. "Moving things with my mind is one of my easiest abilities and I can't…" his voice breaks. He looks away down at the sink again, taking in a slow breath. She's going to be angry at him, but he has to check.

Reaching in to the basin, he pulls out one of the longer pieces of glass, and then does something rather reckless with it. He cuts his finger. On purpose.

"….what?" Elena says. It doesn't sink in just yet. Peter was losing it. In what way? Control? His sanity? It could mean anything. She walks over towards him. She had to admire Nathan's tenacity and determination to live normally despite this. She had given up on changing to go out a long time ago, all people saw her in these days were pajamas. Tonight's was a pair of satin ones with little cartoon ducks on them, and a white tank top with a black hoodie - that was another thing, she would spend whole days in a hoodie or a jacket because it got too cold for her feverish self to be otherwise. When he cuts his finger… "Peter what are you doing?" Her voice doesn't sound alarmed yet. Because she knows he'll heal.

…right?

And then his words sink in, the realization striking her with all of the force of a bullet train leaping the tracks and smashing into a building. She moves quickly to where he is, taking his hand and looking down on it, watching the crimson drop stay on his finger and cradling his knuckles carefully so it won't fall anywhere undetected. They don't know how this spreads. Blood was a sure way to transfer and she didn't want to contaminate the house even more than they already have.

In some ways he has been losing his sanity, cooped up here, but Peter could cope with that. Unknown to most of them the last few weeks, he's been testing his abilities every few hours— usually in private— occassionally in front of people. Sometimes it could even be considered that he pushed himself to the limit right before bed, just to make sure everything worked out all right. This is new, though. Never before did he intentionally harm himself just to see what happened. Besides telekinesis, regeneration is the only one that happens even when he's dead.

Aware of her concern, he doesn't drop the piece of glass, watching as the wound very slowly heals over. She may not have seen him heal often, but it does seem slow— faster than normal healing, but definitely slow. The blood is left behind.

It takes a whole minute before it finishes sealing, even. Just that tiny cut.

"It's getting worse," he says, a twinge of depression in his voice, if not near hopelessness. It's difficult not to be depressed when he feels so bad and there's nothing he can do about it, nothing he can fight against, nothing he can focus his energy on. What little energy he has left.

She lets go of one hand from his, moving to the medicine cabinet behind the mirror close to them, opening it and fumbling for the small bottle of 100 percent Isopropyl alcohol that was there. Elena uncaps it with one hand, and splashes the blood drop with it, waiting for it to do its work and kill the disease in that tiny speck before soaking it up in tissue paper and depositing it in the trash to be properly disposed of later. She doesn't say anything. He could just be getting paranoid. "You mentioned before that it was somehow worse with you, right?" she says. She remembers so she doesn't really confirm it. She's only thinking out loud now, wracking her brain over something she doesn't quite know about or understand. All she had were bits and pieces, occasional fragments.

Turning to the mirror after closing the cabinet she looks at her face for a moment, and closes her eyes to try and call something up. When she opens her eyes, the trademark gold color of her ability to boost powers flicker now and then, like a light shorting out. A brief spark, and then nothing. She lets go of his wrist for a moment to place it on her own wrist. Maybe it'll help.

Nothing. What was meant to be a sharp jolt of pain was nothing more than a tingle.

She lowers her hand, raking her fingers a little tighter than she intended through her hair. "Shit." She doesn't curse often. When she does, it's when she's really upset. She takes a deep breath. The first thing she does is extricate the piece of glass from her boyfriend's grip, gives it the same alcohol treatment and dumps it in the trash bin.

She turns away from him so she could get rid of the rest of the glass, handling the shards carefully. "We knew this would happen," she tells him quietly. "Or at least, you knew and you told us this might happen." She looks over at him. "It'll be okay, Peter. It's Cass. She's working on it. She'll find something to stop this, I know she will."

There's still a lot of glass in the sink. Before, Peter might have used his mind to pick up all the pieces, but now he risks cutting himself again and reaches in carefully to pick up each piece and put it into the buttom of the glass, what remains most intact. It gives him something to do while she curses and dumps the piece of glass from his hand, after cleaning it. "I still hoped it wouldn't," he says softly, sounding and looking bothered. "It's you too, then— probably Evelyn and Nathan too. What if it wasn't that amplifier like you think it was? What if it's this virus? What if after losing our abilities for a while they'll suddenly come back completely out of control?"

For her and Nathan that might not be a huge concern— though maybe more for her than Nathan. She CAN hurt people. But for him and Evelyn, they've both proved in one future or another just how capable of mass destruction they really are, especially if they lose control.

"I should be doing something. I'm the one who…" he trails off. He knows where this leads. They keep saying it isn't his fault, when everything else says that it is. Shaking his head, he drops the glass into the trash, and turns to leave the bathroom, rubbing a hand over his hair. Not the one that he just recently cut.

She helps him get rid of the glass, Elena looks over at him quietly, but she doesn't say anything for a while. She focuses on helping him clean up the mess. Doing something else will clear up her mind for a little bit because she needs to think. All they had as always were possibilities. No straight answers. Nothing definite ever. It was getting a little frustrating. "Yeah. It's going to be all of us," she tells him softly. This, she can accept. "And maybe. I don't know anymore, Peter. It's hard to think about anything else anymore. This thing isn't just consuming our bodies. At least, for me." She looks over at him for a moment, something unreadable in the dark, bloodshot eyes. But she doesn't explain it. Instead, she disposes of the glass carefully.

"It could be the way we get them back too, that makes them more unstable. Maybe it might not be the amplifier that the Company has. There's a real possibility that whatever cure they manage to develop and administer to us would do it. Maybe it comes back too fast. Either way we're going to have to be careful." If they live that long - but it's a thought that she stamps down on quickly. She had faith in Cass. And her father. And Dr. Suresh.

Moving to follow him out of the bathroom, she takes a seat on the edge of the bed. "Not a lot of people in this world are qualified to figure this out," she tells him. "It's not your fault you're not able to do anything about this. You're doing the best you can with what you have, what you know. Let other people handle the rest. People with the education and the training and the know-how."

"I could turn things to gold, Elena. Travel through time. Paint the future. Rip a steel door off it's hinges— I've died over a dozen times." Peter says softly, moving further into the bedroom, making sure the door is closed. It's one of those things she called him on one night a month ago, even if he tried to deny it. Seems that she was closer to correct than even she thought she was. He's the most powerful of them all, and he's starting to believe it. Or he'd started to, at least, whether he wanted to admit it or not. But this… "I had all these powers and I feel powerless. Useless. Helpless."

Finally he settles down on the end of the bed, leaning over a little to rest his arms on his knees and look up at her. He's still pale and flushed all at once, fatigued to the point of exhaustion, and now there's something else there. He's lost.

"Sylar's loose. I think my mother might be in the Company. And I'm losing it. It's all my fault and I'm losing it and there's nothing I can do to fix it, or fix any of this." Only a select group of people can do anything. It takes knowledge, skills, resources… But he's supposed to be the most powerful person in the world. Shouldn't he be able to fix it without that?

"I can't do anything."

He was the most powerful man in the world. While he didn't tell her the entire story as to what brought him to this, Elena knew that for the longest time he didn't really know what he was doing with his life until he discovered he could fly. Even if he thinks now that maybe she was right all along, that he started defining himself through his abilities - something she had always discouraged, she couldn't blame him. With all of that it was hard to see past anything else. It was hard not to take some things for granted. She watches him as he joins her on the edge of the bed, the cushion depressing next to her as he sinks in.

She doesn't say anything for a while. Finally, she reaches out to take his hand gently, threading her fingers through his and squeezing gently. Glancing down at their joined hands for a moment, she speaks up. "It's humbling, isn't it?" she replies rhetorically. "The most powerful nation in the world can still be attacked from within. The richest man in the world can't run from death no matter how much money he invests in medical technology. The greatest ship in the world can still be sunk, and sometimes no matter how hard a child tries to get an A, he still fails. It happens, Peter. It happens to everybody. Saving someone, the world…sometimes it takes more than one set of hands to fix everything."

She shifts her head to try and meet his eyes. "Hope goes a long way too, Peter. Trust. Faith. Love. You don't have to be anything else but be who you are to do all that."

"I thought I could help so many people," Peter says softly, eyes on their joined hands, then switching over to his other hand, palm turned upwards. He might even be trying to do something, only to fail miserable. "That I had these abilities to make the world better— to make a difference." And it's not so much that he'd taken everything for granted, or thought he could do anything and everything, it's more he thought he should be able to do anything and everything.

Meeting his eyes isn't easy though, as he seems intent on looking down instead of up. Ducking down will give something close, but even then not in full. Alost as if he's ashamed. "I spent so long asking what I was supposed do, that when I got these abilities… I though they were it— that I was supposed to help people with them, save the world. Do more." He trails off, shaking his head. They're not gone yet, though. They may come back. "But the more I think about it— I can't help but wonder if the world would be better off without them."

Now he does glance up, looking at her. "I almost destroyed half of New York last year. Simone died almost exactly a year ago, because of me and what I could do…" He hasn't mentioned it, but coming up on the one year later may have a lot to do with his current frame of mind at times. "The future I saw— it was torn apart by the knowledge of abilities, by Evelyn, by people using their abilities, by people in the government who wanted to segregate people based on whether they had an ability or not. Even this disease— if it's my fault— it my time travelling caused this to get worse…"

He glances back down, wincing a little. Her words are meaningful to him, he'd heard them. And they make it easier to say what he has on his mind. "All the people we're depending on right now to save us— Suresh, Cass, Dr. Aldric— they don't have abilities."

—-

She's quiet all the while when he talks, Elena watching him still even as he focuses on looking at anything but towards her. She doesn't seem to mind it though - he's always been that way especially when he's at the current state he was in. "You told me," she says, nodding just a little bit. "…well, just a little. I don't really know the whole story of what happened the last year. But you did mention you didn't really know what you had to do with your life."

Rubbing her free hand at the back of her neck, she continues. "It's easy to think that, yeah?" she says. "What we have, what people like us have, they can be so easily abused. People are inherently good, but there are bad sides to all of us. And I don't mean…you know. Just the capacity to hurt people. I mean other things too. But the world just doesn't operate that way. Most of the time our successes equal our failures. I don't know…maybe it's just the world's way of keeping us humble, remind us that we're not gods on Earth. That we can create bright futures as much as we can destroy them."

She shakes her head. "We are what we are for a reason. I'm certain a lot of good things came out with the use of your powers too, just as you think bad things came out of using them. You saved Claire. You saved Cass. If you didn't go to the future and came back with what you knew, you wouldn't have been able to warn your brother that there could be something wrong with him in the head. You directed Papa to help Niki, and I'd be full of bullet holes if it wasn't for you. You might not be able to save everybody or help everybody…but I think so far you've got a pretty good track record of rescuing the ones most important to you. As for this…even if for some reason your dream was right, and that you brought this on somehow…I wouldn't write us off just yet."

She squeezes his hand once more. "Not everything we do despite the best of intentions is going to have a favorable outcome. We're not equipped for that. I'd like to think God made us all flawed so that we'd continue to strive to rise above it. So we can fully earn our places in this world. We're our noblest selves, after all, when faced with impossible odds."

She gives him a small smile. "You're right," she tells him. "Cass doesn't have an ability. But she has the skills, the intelligence. You saved her once, pulled her out of the fire more than that. Let her save you this time around. Not alone, remember?"

—-

The change is both visible, and easy to feel. While she speaks, Peter starts to relax, the tension around his eyes lessons, the tightness in his muscles. He even looks at her more fully, raising his head, leaning his shoulder against her. He doesn't end up saying anything at all, as she speaks to him, pushing away a lot of his worries. After a moment, he even lets his upturned palm curl under, reaching across to place it over their hands, where they grip at each other. "I don't know what I'd do without you some days," he finally says, a twitch of a smile on the corner of his mouth. Not full by any means, but present.

He can't help but wonder if things would have gone differently if he'd have had people like her and Cass at his side last year. Not that Nathan and Claire and Claude and Simone hadn't been important to him. Ando, Hiro, Isaac… they all made their mark, they all did things of great importance. But it's still something he has to wonder. "I know I'm not alone." Everyone keeps reminding him of that— and he's reminded other people of it too. It's just one of those things. Never alone, truly, but always on his own at the same time.

"Trust and love." He finally says, repeating part of what she said earlier. Faith she can leave to her. "You know— I'm not sure if I told you about this dream— but I had another dream almost a year ago, right before the bomb. My mother was in that one too. She was talking to my patient— Charles— the one who lived in the penthouse of the Deaveux building." He's told her so much, it's hard to remember what he's said and what he hasn't. "In that dream— he told me that all that really mattered… was love." There's a more genuine touch of a smile. "Then again, he was a music fan. Maybe he just listened to the Beatles a little too often."

—-

She laughs. "You'd probably go out looking for someone like me, if I wasn't," Elena tells him simply. She's not so egotistical to believe she was the only one who could play the role in his life that she does now. Unique, perhaps - so many people have called her that, but not irreplaceable. For all she knew she could be one of the many stars the Almighty placed in the path of one of his chosen to make sure he's got his head on straight. When his other hand curls over both their own, she glances down at it and smiles, gripping his hand tightly. "While I'm here, though, you know I'll do what I can."

"Good, but you said it yourself, you have to be told sometimes," she tells him. "To me, I think it helps. It's easier to keep on trucking when you know you're sharing the load and not carrying it around yourself. Especially with the way you are. You….feel so much that….it's understandable why your heart gets so heavy. Your shoulders don't have to be."

As for the dream, she tilts her head at him curiously. When he finishes recounting it, her smile turns rueful. "I wish I could've met him," she tells him simply. "He sounds like a good guy. I think I'd like anyone who listens to the Beatles." Her smile tugs up a little higher on her mouth. "Mama was a fan. Heidi and I actually went looking for John Lennon's ghost a couple of weeks ago. They say he still haunts the Dakota you know." Under any circumstances is she not telling him about the misadventure with the rat. That was just embarassing.

Though deep inside, she's relieved, seeing tension bleed from his shoulders, the dark expression fading slightly. His eyes still maintained their usual intensity, and the mouth she loved was smiling just a little bit. She nudges her shoulder gently against his. "I wouldn't go so far as to say Love is all that matters though…" She pauses, as if thinking about it more. "….actually come to think of it, it might be true. One can easily say that Love is the common denominator in everything that should matter."

—-

Sure, there's possibly other people out there he could have latched onto with the same basic results, but Peter shifts, letting go of her hand so that he can wrap his arm around her. The other hand takes it's place, holding onto her palm rather than entwining their fingers. "Either way— I'm glad I found you." Again. And again. It took a while to get everything worked out so that they could be together like this, time travelling for one, but here they are— and he's glad they made it this far. There's some issues with continually being told he's not alone, but he's not going to comment more on that right away.

Mostly because it's difficult to explain what he means.

Love is a common denominator. In some way, shape, or form. He closes his eyes and leans closer into her, actually almost hugging to her. His body is warm— but so is hers. And at the same time they're both cold.

When he finally does speak, he does it softly. "You would have liked him." His patient. Obviously.

—-

There's a brief pause, but Elena's free arm goes around his back, leaving her other hand in his while her head leans on his shoulder. While he half-hugs her, it's hard to look him in the face unless she pulls back, but the closeness is welcome and it drove the cold away. In this position it was hard to think about the possibility of Death, not when there were so many moments still to live for. Her thumb absently rubs against the side of his hand, but for a while, she says nothing. In a way, the two of them still thought of their ghosts.

"He knew your parents, didn't he?" she says, finally. "I remember…that picture you showed me. The one with your father and mother." And Hiro's father, or at least a man with the same last name as Hiro's. And Elle's father. The other people she has absolutely no idea about.

"Tell me about him," she requests. "I know he was your patient and Simone's dad, but …the way you mention him sometimes. He's really the only patient I hear you talk about every so often. That…must've been some dream, huh? If you still remember it so clearly."

—-

"The reason I don't talk about my other patients is because I didn't have any others," Peter says, not sounding sarcastic about it. "Not in the same way. I looked over people for a short time, sure, but it's different. I was his hospice nurse for almost six months." Until he quit, but that she already knows about, and he's not sure he could have done anything differently under the circumstances. This life that they keep getting trust into doesn't make for keeping a steady job, he's noticed. He hasn't worked for a month. Is the bookstore even open anymore?

"The fact that he knew my parents is probably why I got assigned to him. I don't know how well he knew my dad, but— apparently him and my mom knew each other pretty well." Along with Elle's dad. Linderman. Company connections and mob ties. Welcome to his crazy family. "He liked the stock pages. Even when he was in a coma, I'd read it to him. Let him know how his investments were. Sometimes I'd choose a stock and he'd mock me for it." Sounds like it always made him laugh, being mocked. In that case it probably did. "Music— art… We shared a lot of common interests— You share them with him too." She has an artistic and musical inclination at times, even if she doesn't play or sing or paint. Dancing is art, appreciation for music is art.

"You know he… I wasn't with him when he died. But I had a dream. Part of one at least. Simone woke me up— to tell me that he'd died an hour before." There's some memories that are stronger than others— some things he couldn't remember if she asked of him. But some things shine brighter. Simone and most of his time with her, for example. Emotional attachments have always seemed to be remembered more. "He'd been in a coma for well over a week before he died— but she said he woke up. Talked to her— like nothing had happened. She'd said he'd had a dream. About…" he trails off, as if he's hesitating, or not sure he remembers it well. "He told her that he spoke to me. That I told him everything was going to be okay."

—-

"So you were pretty fresh into the field when you took on Mr. Deveaux?" Elena reiterates, pulling her head away from his shoulder so she could watch him as he talks. Truth be told she didn't really know how long Peter had been a nurse before he discovered his talents. He must have just graduated when he met the man. But she falls quiet again when he continues. In a way, this helped. It was ironic how she could keep thinking about their own probable Deaths by talking about someone who died a year ago.

"He sounds like an interesting guy," she offers. "I thought….when you mentioned he owned the Deveaux Building I kind of got the impression that he was more of a businessman type. I didn't know he had artistic leanings." Though when he brings up her own appreciation for art and music she couldn't help but smile. It's been a while since they had that conversation after all. Dance was art, sure. She couldn't draw to save her life, however. Or play an instrument.

"So you dreamt about Mr. Deveaux twice?" she says finally when he continues on another part of the story. One dream, Peter spoke to him and Charles talked back, and in another dream, Charles spoke to Peter. It was strange. Save for crazy dreams about Jack and Mohinder, she hasn't really dreamt about the people in her life in a really long time. However, when he tells her what Simone said he told Charles, she couldn't help but smile. "It sounds like something you would say."

She nudges his shoulder gently. "You just have to believe it. Especially these days."

—-

Yes, he'd just graduated from nursing school. The whole 'going to law school' thing had gotten in the way of becoming a nurse straight out of school. Training to be a nurse doesn't take as long as people might think, either— only a couple years, a year if someone went quickly about it. Took a few years for Peter, since he had to do it without his father's money or blessing, and thus had to work at the same time.

"I had two dreams, yeah— one right after he died, and one right before I blew up," he says, thinking back on that. The dream Charles had before he died, though— that's different, in his mind, mostly because… "That's what Simone said," he smiles faintly at her words. "I'd never had that conversation with him, but she said it sounded like me. She also said that I told him that there were people… who cared. And that we'd save the world."

Still holding onto her, he shifts so that he can press his forehead against her temple, eyes closed. His forehead is warm, but that's not the point of the matter. "And we will." Right after someone saves them, first.

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