2007-08-25: DF: The Future Is Now

Starring:

DFCass_icon.gif DFErin_icon.gif DFEvelyn_icon.gif DFKate_icon.gif DFKitty_icon.gif DFLachlan_icon.gif DFPeter_icon.gif

Summary: Not all is peaceful at the rally designed to promote it.

Dark Future Date: August 25, 2009

The Future is Now


Central Park

Mid-afternoon in New York City finds the northern outskirts of Central Park bustling with people. A crowd has formed around a makeshift stage, upon which stand a handful of people engaged in a passionate presentation about peace. The names displayed on banners and shirts is 'FREEDOM NOW,' a small, though well-enough known, libertarian group dedicated to relations between Evolved and Humans. Most of the crowd seems to be in agreement, and there are people of all types present, some with children on their shoulders or by their side. Still, there are a few obvious security-types hovering around the outskirts, keeping a careful eye on the crowd to ensure that no bickering breaks out.

Although Evelyn didn't used to pay much attention to these things (except to avoid them), she's come now to hover amongst the crowd and listen to the speeches. It seems more important now, after recent events; maybe, instead of hiding from her own past, she should work towards redemption. If a breeze tugs at the ends of her still-damp hair, well, it doesn't toy with hers alone; at present, there is no distinguishing the side effects of her ability from natural forces in the park. The teen's attention isn't fully absorbed by the speeches, however, as she keeps a hazel eye on the crowd — specifically, to make sure she doesn't get squished in the middle of the listeners. As a consequence, she's not close in to the stage, where the crowd is densest.

The first night he came to the future, Peter snagged a flyer off a building about a planned rally. He'd wrote a note on it, folded it up, into the shape of a crane (which ended up looking more like a duck) and left it in a pigeon coup on a rooftop that overlooks one side of this park. The park itself looks a lot nicer than the building did. There's two people that he arrived with, more or less, but he weaves through the crowds separate from them. Invisible. His face is too known after that whole… train incident, even if it hadn't been HIM… He glances back, trying to spot the others, while some poor fool elbows him in the side. Invisibility in crowds sucks sometimes.

Lately, especially with that ever-so-recent lack of a president to hold her on a short leash, Erin's discovered the joy of Homeland Security By McCarty. The recent death of a close-friend type Agent, the shooting of her shoulder - which is still in a sling - and necessity, have riven her out this way in that little motorised golf cart, admittedly just so she can do a little damage. According to Nathan, Freedom is Bad, and so by default, anyone who's supporting freedom must also be bad. It's a logical series of conclusions. The cart is left some distance away from the gathering, and Erin hoofs in the rest of the way there, though she can hear the demonstration from some distance away. Okay— This is her being good. She'll only start throwing around horrible disease if given a reason, and… She's on a hair-trigger.

Walking towards the crowd is Kitty, who has been given the mid-afternoon off by some of the adult refugees that help at the orphanage. She is wearing a white dress that was designed so that one part was shorter than the other. On her left side the dress is long and reaches to her black boots but on her right side the dress cuts to her thigh. She is also wearing white tights so that not too much skin is being shown off. Her hair swings free down to her waist. The seer tilts her head upward, "Lovely sky" she says to nobody in particular and she continues to look at the sky for a moment before looking back towards the stage and tilting her head as she begins to walk towards it. A slight breeze blows some of her hair into her face and she brushes it back. Her eyes are dark. She must have been having visions the last couple of days.

This is bad. This is so very, very, very bad. It's one thing to have a painting showing the gruesome death of one's fiancée hanging around for two years — it's another to walk into a place that is eerily just like the painting. At it needs is a lot of death and destruction.

Which is precisely what Lachlan wants to avoid. If it weren't a matter of Abby's life, he wouldn't be here right now. If it weren't a matter of Abby's life, he would have forced Cass to stay home. Right now, he walks along with his arm firmly around his girl's shoulders, staring into the crowd with a mixture of fear and suppressed anger. The moment he finds the bastard who took his little girl, he's going to rip them into tiny little pieces and mail them to a Third World country. But he's not going to let Cass out of his sight either. It's rough, being protective of two people who are in two separate places at once. It might explain why he's so on edge, frazzled. Two large male Dobermans weave through the crowd as well, acting as look-outs for their master.

Very bad would be an apt description for what this is. Walking into a scene that is basically like a painting that shows your death is unnerving at best, terrifying at worst. Even the /weather/ and the /sky/ look the same. However, Abby's in here somewhere. And so Cass doesn't even hesitate as she starts to wade through the crowds of people looking for that person who has her baby. A bag is slung over her shoulder, presumably filled with whatever ransom is being asked for. The fact that anything can go wrong in this rally is not very far from her mind and as such, she wants to find her daughter, hand her off to Lachlan and get them out of here as soon as humanly possible. Before. Scanning the crowd, desperately, she walks almost entirely on her tip-toes to try and see over the crowd, hoping that will give her a better advantage, let her see Abby that much sooner.

The entirety of New York could use a little peace right now and Kate is no exception. Her hair has been dyed back to its original shade of chestnut and she's dressed smartly in a black and white top that may be recognised from her last formal press conference and a black pencil skirt with ballet flats. She weaves her way through the rally slowly, taking it all in from behind dark sunglasses. A dark bruise mars one pale cheek, still visible through the makeup intended to cover it up.

The dobermans are doing little to settle the concerns of some of the crowd, who give the dogs wary looks as they pass, jerking to get out of the way lest the dogs decide they're hungry. Twitchy, much? The presenters on stage are getting more and more passionate about their display, yelling into megaphones and declaring the country's leadership misguided. Their words are tempered by compassion, as if they believed the leadership - namely Nathan Petrelli, as they're sure to say several times - had unwittingly stepped onto the wrong path somewhere along the way. They make several ambitious suggestions for encouraging peace between the Evolved and Human populations of the country, most of which are too far-fetched to work, but their optimism is a light in dark times for the crowd, who yell slogans and chant and cheer along with the libertarians. Still, some of the spectators clearly care very little for Nathan Petrelli. Some call out rude comments, others simply scoff at the mention of his name.

Near the stage stands a young man dressed in tattered clothing and a long brown coat that reaches his knees. His hair is a mess, and his face looks grimy, as well. There is something most decidedly off about the way he keeps eying the crowd around him, but it's difficult to imagine what he might be thinking at this exact moment. There are elements of excitement, fear, apprehension, paranoia— and several other emotions, as well. His lips move and he mumbles something beneath his breath, as if speaking to himself.

Despite the elbows trying to knead into his ribcage, Peter catches sight of the other two thanks mostly to Lachlan's superior height. He's seen the baby, held her, and there's children in the crowd, but none of them are recognized— and he's nowhere near as observant as Cass anyway. Sliding away from the unforgiving elbow, he makes his way back towards the dogs and the tall man— and the woman they're both hoping to bring out of this alive. If he has to, he'll grab her and fly her out at the first sign of trouble… There's a blink as he thinks he spots someone in the crowd he recognizes, but— she was blonde last time— maybe it was a mistake. He keeps moving. "See anything yet?" he asks, still invisible, but close enough that at least Lachlan should be able to hear him. Nice doggies.

Since she's keeping an eye on the people around her, Evelyn notices Kitty approaching the crowd. She sketches a half-wave in the direction of the young woman, silently inviting her to share the spot; a familiar face is better than a sea of pure strangers. "Didn't expect to see you here." Not that there /is/ anyone Evelyn expected to see… Although the girl still listens to the presenters, she isn't sure what she was hoping to hear — much less has heard it — and so most of what they say becomes so much backdrop for now.

Unity. Briefly, the idea sounds like a good one; it has the sound to it, after all, carrying with it the memory of a time when people could afford to be peaceful. Where are the eyes, though? They're all here, among the crowd, and they know full well that unity can't be achieved without a significant amount of bloodshed. It's for the good of everyone - if there isn't one person to take control, everything will fall apart, and that in mind, it doesn't much matter what that control is. Bad, good, who can say for certain? Hm. Weaving her way through the crowd, Erin notices Lachlan's dogs out of the corner of her eye, and with her attention on them, she thankfully doesn't catch sight of Peter. In fact, she turns away from the dogs a moment later, heading parallel to the stage. She can hear what's going on. Misguided. Blue eyes narrow, and a pair of sunglasses are pulled down over her eyes; she's going to have to do something about this.

"I needed to get out today. Langston and Carol are watching the Kittens" she says and smiles softly at Evelyn. She looks around the crowd and then up at the stage, "These people have hope. You can never have too much of that" Kitty states, the woman readjust the straps of her dress and she tilts her head as she scans the crowd and she spots the two dogs in the crowd, "Hmm, good thing I didn't bring Tiger" seeing as Tiger might think they were oh nice doggies and then they rip his face off! No we will have no killing of the cats.

"Nothin'." Lachlan's got most of his attention fixed on the crowd, the other part fixed on the feedback he's getting — not only from the dogs, but also from any rodents and stray cats and dogs he can pick up within range. Anything to give him an idea of where and what everything is in the crowded square. He's not only wired to pick up signals for Abby's whereabouts, but also any sign of danger that would make him believe that the woman directly beside him is in danger as well. He notes the suspicious man near the stage and frowns. Something's off about him. Something Lachlan can't quite place — and it makes him even more nervous. "Mebbe ye should go back, Cassie," he utters, almost pleads. "Peter an' I can take care o' things here."

Though low, Cass is close to Lachlan and able to hear Peter's question. Shaking her head, she doesn't spare a glance for her invisible friend. It wouldn't do her any good anyway as he's, as previously stated, invisible. "I am not leaving here without Abby." Keeping on her tiptoes, she does give Lachlan a blistering stare. She's not about to abandon her daughter because of some painting, some possibility of death. Until she finds Abigail and gets her to safety, nothing short of knocking her out and dragging her unconscious out of the crowd is going to keep her off the hunt. "So don't start." Something catches her eye while she scans the crowd. The man, the one that looks so off. He's cradling something. While unsure if it's a baby, that's certainly something to investigate. "Over there!" Hopeful and gasping, the woman drops to her regular height and starts moving faster into the crowd, unafraid to shove people out of the way if she has to.

Kate stops short in her meandering and someone bumps into her from behind. "Sorry," she murmurs absently. She can feel eyes on her, something familiar, but she shakes it off. The whole park is thrumming with life, past and possibility, as it always has. But something now builds a cold knot in the pit of her stomach. It causes the woman to keep moving again, like she shouldn't linger for too long. Is that a Doberman? … Two of them? Kate lifts the sunglasses up to perch on top of her head and she squints. Then their master is… Oh, dear. That looks like one upset Scot. And yet, she can't quite help herself to draw closer to him.

From behind Cass and Lachlan, in the opposite direction from the man with something in his arms, comes a crying that might seem a bit familiar to the anxious parents. It could be any baby crying— or it could be theirs. It's close, but getting further away, with a soft voice cooing to the upset infant. Given the loud cheers of the crowd, the voice is sure to be lost soon.

By now, the frantic Cass and Lachlan have begun to draw more attention from the crowd, though not from the stage. Some spectators turn to stare, others glance once or twice and then return their attention to the stage. They're being noticed, however.

One of the security officers, near Evelyn and Kitty, shifts his weight uncomfortably, eying Lachlan in particular. He takes a step in that direction, then stops. Lifting a radio from his side, he lowers his voice to transmit a message to his colleagues.

Evelyn gives Kitty a peculiar look. "You would've brought the cat?" Did she really just say that? The teen blinks, then shakes her head slowly. Rather than belabor the difference of opinion — it's Kitty's cat, so if she wants to bring it… — Evelyn looks over at the stage as well. "Hope," she echoes thoughtfully. "Yeah, they have plenty of that." As one of the nearby security folk cues his intercom, the girl is again distracted from the orator; she looks over at the officer, then frowns and scans the crowd for the dogs that were roaming through it earlier. The breeze takes an abrupt right turn from its previous course, reflecting her suspicious tension. Evelyn's lips thin, and she pretends it isn't there.

The Dobermans are not paying any mind to people around them, really. They are very focused on their mission — and then almost as one, they lift their heads, ears erect. They heard that baby. And simultaneously, so does a certain Scotsman.

"Cassie!" Goddamn it. Lachlan sets off after Cass, sticking to her like glue in spite of his limp. He grinds his teeth against the pain — and then sound. A baby crying. He hesitates a step, craning his head around to stare after it. Damn it. Damn it, damn it, damn it. "Peter, stay with 'er!" he commands of their invisible friend before he turns and surges back the way he came, back toward the location of the baby crying. The dogs also start to move in on that location, purposeful and fast.

Peter'd known it was too much to hope that the woman would leave even if all this is going on. Her daughter is important, as she should be. Though making sure that her daughter has parents is also important. And then… Lachlan takes off, chasing something he doesn't quite hear. He's trying to concentrate on an ability— which since he's using invisibility already is even harder anyway. "Right, of course," he says, moving closer to Cass in case she decides to follow after her husband… which he somehow thinks she will. He expects he can keep up, unless she shoots him in the leg again.

Now that the sunglasses are over her eyes, she allows that sense to reach out and feel the tiniest particles around her. There are some people here today who are sick, though not terribly. She could encourage those few viruses if she wanted to, cause them to grow and multiply with minimal cost to herself. Brushing against an older woman - human or evolved, she doesn't care - she does just that. It's just a cold, anyway, no harm done. And the tickle of a cough that the poor woman has as Erin continues through the crowd makes the agent smile a little. She's slowly heading toward the stage… The worst can be done there, after all. If the demonstrators suddenly drop dead, foaming at the mouth, people will surely disband fairly quickly. At least, that's according to the haphazardly thrown-together plan that Erin's just come up with. Maybe she'll get a gold star when she gets back to base tonight.

Still looking around, Kitty's shivers a little, but she isn't cold. "Of course I wouldn't have brought Tiger, he would have been trampled" She looks to Evelyn as she notices a woman moving through the ground and pushing people out of the way. She looks to where the woman is staring and she spots the man who looks a little wrong. Tilting her head, Kitty brushes a strand of her hair out her eyes, "Looks like someone is in a hurry" she says quietly and she begins to walk in that general direction, not too fast. She looks back to give Evelyn a look as if to say that she should follow her. She then looks towards the security officer for a brief moment and she tilts her head before she moves on. She looks up to the sky briefly before looking back at the dogs, the woman and that big man.

Unlike Lachlan, Cass is so focused on getting to the man with the baby cradled in his arms, that she doesn't turn around in time to catch where her husband has gone. All of her focus is pushing through the crowd to get to him and the cry of the baby is faint, but she can imagine it coming from the right direction. Nothing is about to stop her. She's not about to stop and turn around. She's too preoccupied with weaving and pushing to even think about shooting Peter in the leg. Not that she has a reason to do so at the moment.

Kate watches Cass and Lachlan part ways and she tries to see what each of them is headed toward. She doesn't like what she sees when she tries to follow Cass' line of sight, and so she takes off toward the woman as quickly as she can move through the crowd. That doesn't look good.

An invisible switch is tripped when Lachlan and Cass separate, though the presentation on the stage continues as if nothing were amiss. The libertarians yell. The crowd yells back. Officers called in by the city stand anxiously on the outskirts, watching closely for any sign of trouble. There isn't one… until Lachlan starts to shove through the crowd. The security guard near Evelyn and Kitty speaks into his radio again, this time a single word: "Go." He stays exactly where he was before, dividing his attention between Lachlan and the stage.

Two officers approach Lachlan from opposite sides, each wielding a can of pepper spray, held at the side. They look seasoned enough to be able to act quickly, should they need to. In addition to the pepper spray, each has a gun in a holster. "Sir!" calls one of the security personnel, his voice commanding, as he rushes past Kate with enough speed and force that he might well shove her aside by accident. "Sir, with the dogs! Stop right there!"

The crying baby is getting further away. The woman - older this time, middle-aged at least, with the baby in her arms - weaves expertly through the crowd, sparing no glance behind her. She seems oblivious to anyone following her.

But if Lachlan thought he was certain that he'd found Abby, the man in the crowd is apparently intent on muddling things up a bit. He shifts the blanket-wrapped thing in his arms, holding it against him the way someone would hold a baby. His strange, coursing emotions have not yet abated.

No. Nonononono. As soon as he hears 'sir with the dogs', Lachlan spares only a glance at the officers advancing on him. Then, his efforts double. He's not just moving through the crowd, he's slamming through it, shouldering aside anyone who might be in his path. The dogs have an easier time of it — smaller, thinner, they can weave into smaller gapes and make better time. They continue to close in on the woman with the baby — but then one breaks off and turns around to start heading back to Cass. If this is the wrong person, the wrong baby, Lachlan doesn't want to be without an eye on his wife. Balthazar, the dog still moving for the woman and baby, fights to get close. All he needs is a sniff. Just a whiff. Just a tiny hint of scent to know whether or not this is the one.

"Huh?" Evelyn looks after Kitty, not having seen what she did. But before she can take more than a step in the young woman's wake, she twists around to look at the guard again. 'Go' what? The wind twists and roils with the teen's spike of apprehension; what trouble is brewing that she should've avoided? "Kitty, wait!" she calls, moving quickly to catch up with her.

Hopefully the man and his dogs will be okay, because Peter's more than willing to chase after her instead, even if he's invisible. That means he ends up running into people who can't see him more than not. "Cass, not so fast!" When'd she stop tripping over people? A frustrated sound could be heard by those he's moving past, but at least he's catching up and getting close enough now. Once he has, he stays as close to her as possible, trying to watch for any sign of danger, not noticing the woman moving through the crowd towards them. He might hear the call of 'sir with the dogs!' but the other noises are getting in the way of that. And he's just trying to stay close to Cass and not get knocked over by anyone who can't see him. Though he's not really hiding that there's someone invisible right there either, considering he shoulders past people and tried talking to her.

As hell begins to break loose Kitty is elbowed in the side on accident and she grunts and shoves the person away. She turns around, "Yes Evelyn?" the way she says it makes it seem like everything is normal right now, which it is not. She eyes the woman with the baby and Cass who is moving in but she stays focused on Evelyn. It seems the teen is stopping her from something. But what wouldn't Kitty have seen that Evelyn did? Well looks like Kitty is gonna have to find out!

Erin is still heading toward the stage, but she hears a shout from behind her, stops, and turns toward it. The only thing she can really see are people moving out of the way - quickly - but it does seem like there's something going on. Suddenly torn between continuing on toward her target and checking out this new curiosity, Erin stops in place, which does sort of annoy the people she'd previously been elbowing aside. It's as she's looking that she catches sight of Cass. The face looks familiar, but she can't quite place it; Erin will shadow the woman from a decent distance, though before she does so, she takes another look back at the disturbance in the crowd.

The rushing security guard sends Kate sprawling on the ground. "Cass!" she tries to call over the shouts of the crowd. "Cass, stop!" Whatever that crazy looking guy has, she doesn't think anyone should be approaching him alone. Especially not Cass, who's lucky to have avoided being sent to detainment this long. She's drawing attention and that's never good when you don't want Homeland Security coming down on your head. Kate attempts to scramble to her feet and carry on after Cass, but it's a slow process with her skirt restricting her movement.

Just about everything for Cass has been narrowed down to the man with the bundle. She doesn't hear the disturbance in the crowd, the guards calling to make Lachlan stop, or even Kate trying to get her to slow down. Even if she did hear any of that, it's unlikely that she would ever listen. There's nothing rational about her plight to find her daughter and as such, none of those thoughts enter into her mind. All that matters to her is saving Abigail. Peter and everyone else can try to keep up but she's finally in the home stretch. Squeezing through the last shield of people, she finally stumbles to a stop right in front of this man, eyes on the bundle, not the man himself. "Abby?"

Is it Abby? Is it not Abby? No one knows! Certainly not the dogs! The woman with the baby isn't about to stop and let them get a whiff, either; her head cants to one side in the slightest way, and then she breaks off at a run, ducking between people in ways that seem almost impossible for her size. Maybe she was just wearing loose clothing.

The security personnel haven't backed down, either— except that one of them has his gun out now, too. "SIR!" he bellows, disrupting everyone in the immediate vicinity as some people duck for cover and others cry out in fear. Some people take off at a run, concerned that the security officer might have bad aim.

None of that is nearly as important as what transpires between Cass and the man with the baby, however. He turns to Cass, and should their eyes ever meet, even for a second, the woman might see new emotions written on his face. Apology. Grief. Remorse. Guilt. It's everything you expect a repentant child abductor to feel in a moment of absolution…

…except that it isn't a child in his arms. It's a collection of wires, metal struts, and connectors all wrapped up in an old blanket, bundled to the approximate size of an infant the age of Cass and Lachlan's. It isn't ticking, but there can be little question about just what this device does.

"I'm sorry," he says, something akin to sincerity in his voice. He can't be sure that Cass even saw what was in his arms to understand what's coming. He doesn't need to; she'll find out soon enough. Half a second later, though it seems like an hour to him, he presses two buttons on opposite sides of the device through the blanket, their location memorized.

Everything goes white. The explosion tears through the crowd with enough force to shake the ground, and another explosion just like it happens on the far outskirts of the crowd— then another, among the part of the crowd that spilled out into the streets.

And that's when everything went to hell.

The first blast shakes him, but Lachlan manages to stay upright. That's not really the issue, however. It's the fact that there was a blast that causes Lachlan to freeze and turn. There's a cold, deadly feeling of dread that drops right through him and down into his feet. In turning, he also leaves himself open to getting slammed in the face with some chunk of debris. It rips open the skin and muscles, damaging his left eye and the entire left side of his face, sending him reeling to the ground. Things fade in and out of blackness as he hits the pavement, spots dance before his good eye, and all through it, he can feel pain — not just from himself, but from Samael, who caught a bad portion of the first explosion. The Doberman is injured badly somewhere in the crowd. Balthazar has fared better and continues to doggedly pursue the woman.

Catching up with Kitty, Evelyn sets a hand on her arm. "I don't think that's a good idea," she points out, glancing back the way they came. Towards the security guard, now hidden from view by the unwitting watchers who have closed ranks behind the girls. "They're doing something. Might be a raid." Which is to say, Homeland Security. And also, we should leave. Her free hand brushes back the hair that keeps blowing back into her face.

…But it's too late to leave. Blinded by sudden light and disoriented by the shaking ground — not to mention the light and sound of the explosions — Evelyn doesn't have any chance of reining in her own instincts. Fortunately for the crowd, the summoned wind that radiates out from her position almost with the explosions is not enough to be destructive; it just slows debris in some directions and compounds the explosions' pressure waves in others. She and Kitty are among the handful it doesn't touch — but it doesn't entirely shield them from the nearest bomb's effects, either. Evelyn for one is knocked to the ground, too bewildered yet to take stock of her own injuries.

As she approaches the man with the baby shaped object, Peter does his best to keep up, which places him just behind her when she reaches him. He doesn't have much of a chance to react when the man says he's sorry, reveals the object, and then uses it. God, he should have forced her to stay within arms reach. That's pretty much the last thought he has before he's blown back from her and knocked visible. He's knocked out, or perhaps even dead (for the moment), with some rather nasty wounds, from debris and blastwave. Only the man with the bomb and the woman it might have been intended for were closer…

Erin's been following Cass at a safe distance, though as the worried mother draws nearer to the man holding the 'baby,' Erin does, as well. She's trying to see over the crowd, while at the same time preventing her arm from being bumped, given the bullet through it. It certainly feels better with pain killers, but having muscle and other tissues torn through is never pleasant.

She actually doesn't remember what happens next. The bright flash of light and eruption of sound knocks her to the ground and out, so she really has no idea at all what's happened to her for several long seconds, before consciousness returns. The first thing she notices is a sharp chunk of metal, just inches from her eye, somehow stopped by the cheap plastic lens of her sunglasses. Talk about a close call.

Beyond that, Erin's in a whole lot of pain. She can feel a sticky warmth somewhere in her hair, down the side of her face. Her shoulder stings like it's just been shot again, it feels like there's something going all the way through her leg. Catching sight of her arms is… unpleasant. They're streaked with meandering angry red burns, her clothes are torn and ruined, and she knows this is going to be severely unpleasant when the shock wears off and the pain really hits. Still too out of it to do anything, the agent remains on the ground, trying to prop herself up on one elbow. What the hell!? There's no shouting, though. It's silent, like everyone except her has been wiped out. Then she realises - no, there's sound. She's just not hearing it.

"Yeah may-"Kitty sees white and she falls down from the explosion. She knocks her head on the ground hard and her left arm is in intense pain. Kitty pants and shakes her head as her ears are ringing. She tries to lift her head up to see what is going on but she cannot at the moment. Her face has smudge marks all over her as do her dress. She hisses in pain as she notices a burning sensation on her shoulder like her arm. Kitty shakes her head and winces in pain as she tries to reorient herself. She hears thuds and movement, but not clearly at all.

Kate just gets to her feet and manages two running steps toward Cass again before it happens. She sees the flash before she registers the sound of the explosion, or at least the ringing in her ears. But none of that lasts long. Mrs. Petrelli is sent crashing to the ground a second time, this time unconscious. Although with the bloody mess that covers her face, it's hard to say if… Only the shallow rise and fall of her chest gives her away as being left among the living. It's hard to see exactly how much damage she's sustained through all the blood. Her clothes are definitely ruined - torn, tattered and charred in places - and her right arm is bent at an awkward angle from the force of her fall.

The bundle of wires and explosives doesn't hold Cass' attention for very long. It's quite obvious that something is wrong. That's not Abigail and this man has very different objective in mind. Eyes quickly flick up to catch the man's eyes. For a split second, there's confusion. And then a horrid sort of realization. All that she had tried to change, break, move away from, everything in order to not be in this moment has in fact, just led her right back here. "No." A simple declaration, ultimately useless in the scheme of things. There's no way that she'll be able to clear the distance it will take to get out of this alive, but she's never been a quitter. She readies herself to spring, but she doesn't even have time to make a full stride away. The white flash explodes, flinging her body backwards, into those immediately surrounding her, tumbling until she lands on the ground. When she finally comes to a rest, she's twisted into strange angles, dirty, burned, bloody, hair tangled and strewn about her face. What little can be seen of her face shows open, lifeless deep blue eyes.

Chaos. That's a good word for the scene that has unfolded in Central Park. There are dozens of people lying on the ground in every state from living to dead. Bodies lie atop each other, intertwined in unnatural ways. The injured and shocked are crawling, limping, running away from the destruction. Some survivors scream, others sit or stand too stunned to move or speak. Many are crying, gut wrenching sobs betraying immense grief and horror. The face of the building across the street has been torn apart, and black smoke billows from the windows. Sirens wail in the distance, drawing closer with every passing second. Slowly but surely, emergency services begin to find their way to the park.

Despite the doberman's determination, the woman with the baby has managed to slip away from him. Nowhere in the crowd, amongst the living or dead, can her face be seen. Then again, some faces are so badly charred and bloodied that it's difficult to say what they looked like before. She is gone.

Restless wind snaps through the park, buffeting those who did manage to remain standing. Evelyn hasn't hurt this much in a long time - and, not having been the last to collapse, the press of bodies compounds the memory. Plus she just hates being buried. Pain or no pain, the teen scrambles out of the huddle of the disoriented and injured, despite not being able to hear and barely to see. Once in open air again, the burns on shoulder, side, and back that really hit her; for the moment at least, Evelyn doesn't move any further.

Sheer force of will keeps Lachlan from going completely unconscious. He flickers in and out of it as the sounds of the world around him remain muffled, distorted as though he's underwater. After half a minute, when everyone seems to begin recovering from the shock, he reaches stability and slowly, slowly rises to his feet. The screaming in his head is not just ache from the trauma of the hit he took — it's Samael, who has by now scrambled under the nearest shelter to hide. Gradually, disorientation starts to fade from the Scot's mind. He realizes where he is.

He's standing in the painting.

The dread returns. Horrified, he sets off at a more pronounced limp as fast as he can toward the place he knew Cass was heading. He doesn't believe in God, but he prays anyway that Peter was able to get her out. He won't find her there. She's gone to safety. Surely that's how it will be. Life would not be so cruel. Even so, he begins to search the bodies frantically, desperately trying to confirm his hopes.

But what he finds shatters them instead. There, just where the painting said she would be, is Cass. And she is very dead. He knows it even before he falls onto his knees next to her and gathers her lifeless body into his arms. No amount of pleading or crying is going to bring her back, but he does it anyway. The only woman he's ever loved in his long life is gone.

"Evelyn!" Kitty yells loudly and she climbs to her feet shakily. She limps on one foot and looks around, her vision is very blurry and she can barely make anything out. She blinks a few more times and holds her head in her hands for a moment. "I should have seen that coming" Kitty mutters, not that she or anyone else would have been able to hear it. She blinks a few more times and then her vision clears. Kitty first sees Evelyn and her injuries and rushes over to her. "I can't really hear!" Kitty yells and she then looks up to survey the damage that has been done. Her eye widen as she sees not the bodies, because she has seen bodies a lot. She focuses on the bodies of the children that were present. Were being the main word. Her lips quiver and she then steels herself against the emotion washing over her. She briefly sees Lachlan at Cass' body before she focuses back to Evelyn.

Unlike most of the people laying twisted and broken, Peter actually coughs after a moment. He's covered in blood, face and chest burnt, clothes ruined. The shrapnel that hit him, luckily none sticking in his face, starts to fall out, and his leg twists back into the right position as he sits up. There's people all around him. And for the first few seconds he can barely see. That starts to fade, along with the ringing in his ears that drowned out all the sound. All he can really see as his eyesights clear— is her. He'd never imagined he was one of the bodies in the painting. The painting he painted. The painting they knew would lead to her death. And she still came anyway— she ran off into the crowd and… he couldn't keep up. When did she stop tripping over people's legs all the time? When did she— no, it's not her fault. So soon after other loses, this sight is too much. This is his fault. He should have stopped it. He should have flown her out somehow. He should have done something. "Lach--Lachlan," he tries to say— but really, there's no words that someone can come up with in this situation.

As the scene soaks in, she tries to piece the recent events together, and can't seem to make the connection in her head. It feels as if something's slipping slowly away from her. Briefly, Erin recalls her cart, she can see a couple dogs in her mind's eye. Blue eyes focus on Lachlan as he nears the body of Cass. She sees Peter now, and he looks familiar, but at the moment, none of that even remotely matters. It occurs to her that she's not going to be able to work tomorrow, though the thought seems strange and foreign as the pain begins to take its toll. There was light, she remembers that. She should — be able to— Something's slipping away from her, and she's not sure what it… She already had that thought, but this seems like the first time. Something's slipping away, something's missing. Erin's just going to lay her head down on the ground and close her eyes while she tries to make sense of everything.

A young woman stumbles through the wreckage, holding her coat tightly around herself. There is blood on her face, and her hair is knotted and dirty. Her clothing is marred with holes from debris. She walks through the bodies without looking at any of their faces, headed into the very center of the destruction. There, she pauses and stoops to the ground, drawing something out of her coat and setting it down on a scorched walking path: a child, an infant, who begins to cry the instant the woman withdraws her hands. One hand digs in her pocket for a moment, and as the woman in tattered clothing turns away from the baby, a vial drops from her hand. The glass shatters, a clear liquid seeping out over the ground.

As her hearing begins to return, Evelyn catches just a bit of what Kitty yells. She looks up at the young woman, shrugs one shoulder — the good one — and… just sorta sits where she is. She should probably leave, before the people associated with those sirens get here… but… that means moving. The teen just has too much inertia right now. Though her disorientation is clearing, neither the infant's cries nor the woman who left her behind catch any of Evelyn's attention.

Desperation and minor hearing damage from the explosions prevents Lachlan from really hearing anything except his own voice, willing Cass to return and put some life back into those blue eyes. He remains kneeling awkwardly there on the pavement, clutching her body to him and rocking slightly. It's just like the painting. Just like the painting — the one Peter painted.

Slowly, it dawns on him that Peter is there, standing behind him — and being the irrational sort that he is, the Scot is quick to feel a swell of helpless rage toward the other man. Lowering Cass to the ground, Lachlan rises and whirls on the time traveler. His expression is not at all friendly. His mangled, tear-streaked face is contorted into an enraged snarl as he reaches forward to grab Peter by the shirtfront and give him a violent shake. "Why the bloody hell di'ye no' save 'er?!" he bellows. "Why di'ye no' fly 'er out?! Ye were righ' there! Ye were righ' there!"

Balthazar is still alive, though disoriented a little by having lost his quarry. The Doberman wanders aimlessly, still focused on finding The Little Master Person — and when he picks up the sounds of crying, he bounds towards it.

Taking Evelyn's arm, Kitty tries to get her up so that they can leave, "Come on Ev. We gotta get out of here" she grunts as she begins to lift Evelyn up. She notices the baby and as much as it kills her. She can't take both the baby and Evelyn. She silently hopes that someone will notice the baby and go help. As she is looking around, she sees Lachlan and Peter. She shakes her head at the yelling. Her eyes sting some and she blinks back tears.

Her eyes close, open again — Look toward the crying baby. She catches sight of that vial, but a moment later, she can't even remember seeing it fall. There's no more movement to push herself up onto her elbows; she'll just wait for someone to help her, or… Why was she even here? Things are slowly making less and less sense as the sky seems to get darker and darker, vision closing in until she finally surrenders to the fact that sleep is probably a much better option for her at the moment, anyway.

At Kitty's prodding, Evelyn lets herself be hauled up to her feet. "…Okay." She hisses during the process, but can at least walk, if a bit stiffly. The teen gives a glance back towards the stage; without voicing her thoughts, she turns back to Kitty, and starts moving. Inertia works in two ways, after all.

There's some things that a never easy to react to. The man hauled him up in the air when he first painted the picture, and the same happens as it comes true before their very eyes. Peter doesn't even have the strength to fight him, right now. There's still wounds visibly healing over on his face and body. They'll be gone eventually. But right now… "I couldn't— I— Abby," he manages in a hoarse voice. "Find— find Abby. I'll… I'll take— I'll take Cass. I can… I might be able to…" He can fix this. He's said it so many times since he teleported into the future, but this time… there's some things he's not sure he can ever fix, will ever be able to fix, but… he'll never stop trying. The vial goes unnoticed. There's so many wounded around that he wants to help, but he can't do anything while hauled up off of his feet by the much taller man. Not while he's already got the strength knocked out of him by death and regeneration.

"Ye coulda fixed it, ye bastard!" Lachlan gives him another shake. "Ye knew it was comin'! Ye coulda— "

It's as though someone just tapped him on the shoulder and pointed something out to him. The Scot suddenly stops, freezes, and glances off into nothing. Abby? He's getting signals from Balthazar — difficult to pick up over the screaming of Samael — and forgetting Peter entirely, he drops the other man and goes limp-running off into the chaos. It doesn't take him too long to come upon the baby, who is being stood over protectively by the large Doberman. She's crying, but she's alive. Lachlan immediately dips down to scoop her up and cuddle her tightly to his chest. "Abby. Shhhh, shhh. S'okay, baby, s'a'righ'."

With a final look over her shoulder Kitty starts to walk in the direction of the Orphanage. She limps through the debris and wreckage supporting Evelyn with her good shoulder. They past not to far from where Peter and Lachlan were and she looks up to the sky and sighs, "What a shitty day to have off" she says and continues to move off. Time to see about getting some treatment.

Set down, Peter doesn't have much room to complain. He agrees whole heartedly with the taller and older man. He should have fixed this— maybe he still can, but probably not. The body of Cass is laying on the ground not too far away, but there's so many other people as well… He can't help all of them. He knows this. So he just chooses one. One of the closer ones. She'd been following a little behind Cass, so he moves back some and kneels in front of the former soap opera star— not that he recognizes her. Kneeling down, he touches her arm and tries to fix some of the damage. May not fix all, but hopefully she'll be able to get up when the medical teams arrive. And the poor guy has no idea the woman he chose at random is a dire enemy of the people that he's been staying with. No idea at all.

This whole thing with passing in and out of consciousness is really going to take its toll. But just as Erin passed out, she's jolted awake by a painful touch that seems to lessen over time. There's too much wrong to fix it all, but the burns lessen in intensity, the injury to her shoulder starts to heal, and the bleeding stops. She still has the feeling that there's something stuck in her leg, down near her ankle, because there's a thin piece of metal stuck vertically through it. Oddly, it's the first time she's actually recalled feeling that. In fact, she's not sure why she's hurt at all. Confusion is predominant as she tilts her head to look around. There's smoke and dust everywhere, her ears are ringing painfully, but she's sure she can hear shouting. "…What?" she wonders, grunting, pushing herself to one elbow.

Despite all the… covered in bloodness… Peter looks remarkably well by the time he's finished this healing attempt. Not a full healing, but it did the job. She's awake now, and looking— well— like medical attention may actually be able to do something now. But— "You don't want to move yet," he says hoarsely. "I'm sure the medical personnel will be here soon, but— don't move your leg any…" That's something he can't do anything about right now, and pulling it out without proper medical supplies would be a bad idea. Where's those medical people? Surely someone's on their way by now. "You're going to be okay," he says, though he can't smile as he might want to— not with… Cass' body laying there, not too far away. Staring at him. He should stop and heal someone else, but… "Just stay put until help arrives, okay?"

With dog and baby, Lachlan once again returns to the spot where Cass fell — but there's something else he has to deal with first. It doesn't take him too long to locate Samael. Though the dog is still screaming inside his head, the Doberman himself is quite still, hidden beneath a chunk of street that landed askew. He's in horrid shape, breathing laboriously, body maimed almost beyond recognition — certainly beyond help. Lachlan doesn't have to work too hard on his decision. Retrieving a pistol from his belt, he lets off the safety, covers Abby's ear with his hand, and fires two shots into the dog's skull. The screaming stops. The Scot turns and makes his way back to Cass and Peter.

Yeah, but… what happened? Confused blue eyes narrow, looking between Peter and— And— resting on the dead woman who's some yards away. Oh. Oh. "Okay?" she asks, blinking, wincing as she moves her leg the wrong way and— Jesus, that hurts like hell. Help, yeah, that's probably a good idea. She'll have to find a way to let her superiors know that she isn't going to be able to show up for duty tomorrow, and they're not going to be happy /at all./ But, as Erin lowers herself back to the ground to await help, she realises that Peter's face looks awfully familiar, it's just hard to place at the moment. Her mind's still fuzzy, she hurts all over, so she'll just stay where she's at until someone comes to save the day.

With as many casualties as explosions of this calibre cause, the paramedics are swamped, trying to determine those in need of immediate care and those who can wait to be seen. It's slow-going, but they are beginning to work through the disaster. The worst cases are too difficult to treat in the field, and many who survived the blasts will likely die regardless. The scene has begun to attract spectators who did not take part in the rally, as well— curious people with an interest in tragedy. There are many questions and very few answers: who would do this and, more importantly, why? It's a mystery. Through it all, the tragic, heartbreaking sobbing of the survivors continues.

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