2007-04-27: The Importance Of Memory


Elena_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: After Jane's visit to the Gomez apartment and the latina's visit to Enlightenment Books, Elena finally pays Peter a visit and sees him for the first time since leaving for New Hampshire. Detecting his physiologically unstable state, she re-stabilizes him, and then heads off to do some risky business.

Date It Happened: April 27, 2007

The Importance of Memory

Peter Petrelli's Apartment

Jane's visit proved beneficial in the fact that it would help her navigate the minefield that was Peter's apartment later. Granted, she tried to give it a day, but faced with nothing to do, and the only other option would be staring at Drake's videotape yet again wracking her brain about what to do with her best friend, she finally gets dressed and leaves her family's apartment. The only thing that delays her, really, is a short call from Manny telling her that he'll be late coming home. Again.

Elena exhales a breath, closing the flip-top of her phone and stowing it in her pocket after the call from her brother. Looking up Peter's building, she shakes her head and takes a few steps up the stairs. She opens the door, and takes the elevator up to the 14th floor. It was only when the doors shut in front of her that she realized she had….. absolutely no idea what to say to him. What does a friend say to another in a situation like this? It wasn't every day someone's girlfriend gets mindwiped and tries to kill him!

She thumps her forehead on the metal doors….and almost -falls- right out when the doors suddenly swing open into the third floor. She gropes the edge of the elevator frame, and eases herself out. Oh well. She'll do what she does best.

Wing it.

Walking up to 1407, she lifts a knuckle to rap on the door. "Peter?" she calls out hesitantly, quietly. She'd say 'Joe's Pizza,' but if she said that he might not open the door.

There's definitely some minor changes to his apartment, recently. The front door alone has seen better days. The wood and paint has been scortched near the metal lock, which has recently been replaced. Otherwise, the outside looks much the same, but the light knock must have been heard, because a few moments later the safety chain can be heard dropping, and the deadbolts are unlocked, and when the door opens, there stands Peter, dressed in simple jeans and a dark polo shirt, looking as if he's seen slightly better days. Tired might be the most adequete description, or just drained. "Elena, hey," he says softly, not looking surprised.

He has a spy hole, after all, he'd known who he was opening the door for. A soft breathing bark can be heard from inside, as Snowy recognizes the smell and sound of the girl at the door and starts to run towards her. Bending down quickly, he snatches the little white puff ball into his arms, and then steps back, giving her easier entry. "Heard you came back a bit early. Hope it wasn't too much trouble…"

Once she's inside, and the door closed, he'll lock it up one handed, while holding onto his puppy with the other arm. Before, he hadn't done all the locks when it'd been the two of them, but things have changed a bit.

"…hi," Elena says, staring at Peter and the state he was in. Rubbing the back of her neck, she steps through the doorframe and watches the younger Petrelli close the door and lock all the locks. She slides her hands in her pockets. "I did," she replies. "I appreciate the update, by the way, even if I wasn't around to be able to help out. But I had to come back early anyway, Drake…" She pauses, and then she shakes her head. "It was a mess, to keep it short." She wasn't about to bog Peter down with someone else's problems.

She smiles at Snowy, and reaches out to ruffle the area between her ears. "Hi, kiddo," she murmurs to the dog. "Still remember me?"

To Peter, she glances up again, her brows furrowed a touch. "Jane stopped by the apartment," she tells him. "She told me about the telepath and the…bucket measures. And what happened at Cass's store. She also told me you weren't well…physically. How are you feeling?" She already knew he wasn't well emotionally, but Peter -did- look physically ill and her mouth is set in a little, worried line.

"Drake called me too," Peter says, letting her pet the puppy, who does seem to remember her. She's trying to lick the teenager's fingers, in fact. "I'm not sure what's going to end up happening with him, but- I hope it turns out okay. Don't know what'll happen if another one of my friends ends up with a memory hole…" The sound of his voice is very tense as he says that, a new kind of worry than he might have had before.

As she looks him over, he nods, pulling the wriggly puppy away so that he can set her down, at which time she decides to hop up and down near the girl's feet, wagging her tail excitedly. "Yeah- I still need to go apologize to Cass for that, and pay for her back door. When Alyssa called with the emergency- got a bit carried away on my entrance." Not as much as Lachlan, though? Stepping away, he starts into the sitting room area, which hasn't changed all that much since she'd last been here.

"I'm okay. Did more than I should have when- when the bookstore incident happened. I've slept through most of it, now." Doesn't appear to be running a fever anymore, but there's definitely something wrong. "Moved Elle's things out this morning." That might give a clue of why he feels less than his best.

"He mentioned that," Elena says, her voice taking on a softer pitch as she looks out the window, her fingers unconsciously balling into her pockets. Her gold-flecked eyes take on a harder stare, her jaw setting - it was a determined expression, the sort that those who knew her well interpreted as the young lady's resolve to do something that involved a bit of risk. She's not saying anything however, but she does reach over to pick up Snowy, cradling her on one arm and giving the pup what she wants - affection. She's smiling, but just slightly. The worried look doesn't leave her.

"He won't," she mutters at the last. "At least I hope he doesn't. He'll fight as hard as he needs to, to get away. But I told him not to hold back, short of killing anyway. They can't just keep doing this to people. Not like this." She follows Peter to the sitting area, though she doesn't sit down yet. She carries Snowy with her. "They already wiped Drake once. And Jane. Now Elle, and even if I don't remember it…." She pauses, and glances away again. But she says it without saying too many words - she had been mindwiped once as well.

At the last, she doesn't look surprised. "Jane….said Elle is her roommate now," she tells Peter quietly. "I put two and two together. But at least with Elle staying with Jane, she's staying with someone she could trust, and it doesn't look like she's leaning Company-wise if Elle is staying with her." She sets Snowy back down on the ground. "And you know where she is. I know they're small details but…" Finally she can't help it. "….I'm so sorry, Peter. Is there any way….I mean, have you talked to Cass? Maybe it could be reversed."

Snowy certainly seems grateful for the attention, wagging her tail happily, breathing loudly in an open mouthed way. Very much on the happy side, it would seem. Good thing the teenager hadn't seen her a few days ago… when this all went down. "Actually I think fighting back may make things worse for him, in their eyes. I'm just hoping it doesn't come to that," he admits. "I'm just worried how bad things will get if they deam him an actual safety threat. They might try to kill him, rather than just neutralize him briefly." Seems like he believes them capable of such a thing, at the very least.

"You too?" he says, shaking his head as he settles down into the two-seater couch, rubbing the hand over his face. "I'm sorry."

As Snowy is set back down, she hops around a little longer, then trots over to start playing with a chew toy, trying to get her tiny mouth around it and lift it up. Not working out too well for her, though. "I know. I'm not giving up on the memories, but- Cass said she didn't know a way, and the telepath that Nathan brought in said they're gone. Not only that, but she's had holes in her memory nearly her entire life. Even if we could give her the recent memories back… if she got all of them at once she might not…" He sighs, trailing off for a few moments.

"We'll still be dating," he adds, looking towards Elena, somehow hesitant. "But she can't leave the Company anymore. Even if she's not living with them, she's still with them. They wiped her memory /because/ she started talking about leaving them. That has to be what it was," he says, looking up towards the ceiling and the fancy light fixture. "She would have left them for me- and they violated her mind and took out everything directly involving me, and those she met because of me."

The tone he speaks in carries a quiet and exhausted guilt.

"He'll defend himself in any way he can, if they come for him. But I told him not to go quietly. Not like last time. If that happens, there are contingencies in place," Elena says, remembering the videotape in her possession. She watches Peter take a seat on the couch, and moves, to take a seat on the other end. She turns slightly so she could face him as he talks. And when he asks about her mindwipe, she nods. "Yeah. A while ago. But it was selective. Just a few, specific memories. I still remember my childhood, my mother's death. All I don't remember is Benjamin Winters's kidnapping by the company and what I saw that day. This was before everything else happened so they had nothing but that to take in terms of their business."

When Peter tells her about the memories, she nods, a vague outline of a plan shaping up inside her head. She was thankful at least that Peter seemed too exhausted to use his powers. If there was a way, she'll help find it. There wasn't any question about it.

At the last, she nods. "Shit," she mutters, rubbing her face a bit with her hand at the thought. Elle was still Company - and it looks like it'll have to be that way or they'll just keep doing this to her. "Who the -hell- do these people think they are?" she hisses, temper surging on her cheeks. The brief flash of fire fades quickly, however, struck by something and giving a quick shake of her head. "I'm glad you're still together, even after everything. I'm hoping that maybe if you two spent a significant amount of time together, old feelings can be rekindled. Memories are memories, but the heart can overcome the mind."

But he was doing it again. He blamed himself. She would be lying if she said that Peter was completely blameless in it - he wasn't. Not in this case. She hesitates for a moment, her fingers twitching, but they finally lift to rest gently on his shoulder to squeeze. "If there's a way, you'll find it. And even if not, you still have her. Not everything's gone, Peter."

"Right. Mr. Winters," Peter says in response, remembering the man who he'd warned about Sylar- and the Company. Now he needs to call the man again and let him know things have dramatically changed where the Company was involved- though he's not told this young woman about his past plans yet. Or how they fell apart so badly now. In fact, there's a hint of shame in his expression as his eyes lower away from her.

"Well, the boss of the Company thinks he's her father. But that doesn't give him the right to give her no options, no choices. That's what I was fighting so hard for- whay I wanted her to have. I wanted her to be able to choose- to go one way or the other- to follow her heart, not what others would tell her to do. And then they…" he shakes his head, hand going over his eyes again. "I don't know, Elena. I spent every day with her back in the facility- every day for two months. She brought me my pills, my change of clothes… She cut my hair… and she enjoyed electricuting me, every day. Just small charges, to my hand, or ran over my scalp… When she came back a few months later, after a vacation- she'd changed some. And she stopped shocking me as much. Just a static charge, really. Small sparks."

It's hard to explain. His hand slides off his face and he glances towards the floor, to look for the puppy, and sees her spreading out on the wooden floor trying to gnaw a hole in soft chewy toy. "It still exists to me, Elena. But the memories aren't just how she acted, or what we did together… they're how she felt. That's all gone. She /hated/ me. She nearly killed me twice… she didn't even hesitate. What made me fall in love with her- she doesn't remember doing, might never do again. I know she's capable of it, but at the same time…"

Sighing, he looks back towards the young teenager, leaning into her hand, his own hand coming up to clasp the one touching his shoulder. "Whatever we make now- won't be the same. Even if she gets her memories back… it'll never be what we had before. Could be better, could be worse… but it won't be the same."

The look of shame is caught on by the perceptive Elena, dark eyes falling on his face even as the young Petrelli lowers his own away from hers. There was something he wasn't telling her, something that was triggered by mentioning Benjamin. But she wasn't one to force information out of anyone. Especially not Peter, or any of her friends. The look of contemplative seriousness softens her face, but she doesn't turn her gaze away from him even as he continues. In time, maybe, he'll tell her.

He was right. All of it. What the hell did she know about Love anyway? She had never been in love, she wouldn't know what it was like. All she knew of it came from movies, and books, and the experiences of those around her. Cass and Lachlan, primarily. Her father and mother, when she had been alive. All of it came from other people's perceptions as to what it actually was, and what it drove people to do. What did she know? What right, honestly, did she have to make an assessment? It was so easy for an outsider to see the silver lining in a dark situation, after all. She knew if she were in Peter's shoes, she'd be similarly devastated.

"I have to hope," she begins softly. "That it'll be better, not just different, the second time around. You're right of course, it won't be the same…but it could be better. I think if you both realize that, if you're both willing to try, it will be." At the returned clasp and the touch, she turns fully so she could hug him with both arms, against his side. "I'm sorry," she murmurs. "I'm sorry if I'm giving my opinion too freely. You know full well I'm the last person that should be talking about this sort of thing, but I do just genuinely want you to be happy, Peter. It sucks that you're being derailed again."

It's the hug that draws his attention out of the headspace he's slowly decended into. Leaning into it, Peter even returns the hug with one arm at least, leaning into the young woman in a way that can only be described as desperate for some kind of physical comfort. "I know- I know. I'm trying. I know I am- and don't be sorry. Don't apologize for it. I'm glad that you care, and that you want me to find happiness. Want to hope- want to believe it'll be better. Just… the telepath said that to her- it never happened, doesn't exist. And that- that terrifies me."

There's a hint to that worry in his breathing, which starts out slow and trying to maintain a simple balance, and then will give away a certain level of emotion in the form of a sudden sniffle through his nose, until he pulls away, moving a good few steps away from her as he reaches up and rubs at his face. "To me- it still exists, but I only have so much evidence of it. We only had one set of pictures taken together and… she took them. Before she believed me. To get them tested. I don't know if I'll get them back, or what shape they'll be in if I do…"

And he closes his eyes slightly, still rubbing at his face, "And they took her locket. Something I bought for her. But it's not just the physical objects, but- the memories that come with them- sorry. Now I'm just rambling at you." Another rub at his face and he adds on, softer, "It'll be okay. She's not trying to kill me anymore, at least. Just wish I knew… what she liked about me. How she felt about all these things we'd done together- and now I can never ask her."

She gives him a squeeze, feeling the desperation there, but she doesn't say anything when he says what he does, when he rambles on. There was a time to talk, and a time to shut up. Elena was fully aware that even now he was holding back, but she didn't find it in her to press him into unleashing everything. It was disrespectful. She was a friend, she wasn't his mother.

Her ability fires up, synapses telling her that Peter was still worn and overused abilities wise. There was an imbalance there, something that could end up becoming unstable if he tries to use his powers again, accidentally or otherwise, that might force him into an even worse state that he was in now. Elena's eyes sharpen a bit in focus, but she does let her arms drop when he pulls away, watching him as he turns his back so he could hide whatever was on his face from her. She lets him - people had their pride. She remembers the nights when her father wouldn't look her in the eye after her mother died, no matter how well he knew that she knew he was suffering.

When he apologizes at her for rambling, Elena shakes her head. "It's okay," she says, keeping her place on the couch and letting him have the distance to compose himself. "I'm just glad you're able to articulate that much. I've seen people close themselves off at the first sign of hardship and the result is rarely pretty. I'm actually a little relieved," she confesses. "Maybe you could get the locket back? If they held memories, then maybe….and then you can give it back to her. It's -hers-. Father or not, he has no right to take it away from her."

She glances down at her hands, and then she stands up. "Peter, come on. Sit down for a little bit," she murmurs softly. "Something's not right with you….I don't mean emotionally, I already know that. I mean physically. I'm a little afraid at the state your in if you experience a power-backlash you might…it might get bad. You're already messed up over this, the last thing you need is more of you breaking down further. You could develop a fever, or worse."

"I don't know if I can give her the memories I have- even if- I used psychometry on one of the things I'd given her, a ring," Peter explains, stepping over to the coffee table while he's still standing and picking up about the most tacky plastic ring ever, with a fake clear blue gem set in it. It doesn't even attempt to look real. "It- was our second date. Took her to an old arcade in Chinatown. I got this for her with the tickets we won from skee ball, and other games. It- was supposed to be a stand-in present. A real ring I was going to get her later, but- I used one of the abilities I have to- read the past of the ring."

Twisting it around in his hand, he continues, "Doesn't just show the past, but the emotions of all those involved in the memory- it's how I know for sure that she wasn't just with me for a mission- that it hadn't all been a ploy. Even then there's so much I can't ask- so much that can't tell me. At least I know her favorite color, and that she liked the arcade- except for the losing part." He knows he'll have to try harder to make sure she wins next time…

Her requests to sit get answered because he walks back over and settles down. Ignore the hints of moisture and redness around his eyes. "I know- I nearly put myself into a coma in the bookstore a few days ago. But I'll be fine… don't worry too much about it." Riiight. Just like she shouldn't be worried when Snowy looks up from her chew toy and actually whines briefly, as if catching some kind of emotion off her boss.

"Would that be possible through psychometry?" Elena asks. "To be able to transmit memories into another person's head?" She looks a little hesitant while she says this. It's completely different from what Ramon could do, which is basically dive into someone's mind so deeply, he could pluck out a fragment that the person doesn't even remember, but has experienced before. But she does listen, watching him when he fiddles with the ring on his hand. She says nothing afterwards. As always, she just lets him talk.

It was heartbreaking in a way, to hear about him finding out so many things that put his own insecurities about their relationship to rest, only for something else to happen that wiped it all away, and rather literally. Part of her was hesitant, and even mad at herself that she was hearing all of this - simply because she thought she didn't have a right to. She couldn't find it in her heart to stop him, on the other hand. It was too much. "You have every right to mourn what you lost, Peter," she says finally, after a long pause. "So long as you don't forget that it could be better this second time around. At least now you know. And when things continue, she'll know it too. I know you'll be fine, despite your worrying, you've always come across as pretty damned strong."

When he sits down, she remains standing, and moves to drag the coffee table over so she could sit on it so she's facing him directly. "Yes, you say that, but your body's telling me otherwise," she says, shaking out her fingers and resting them on her kneecaps. "That's okay, you don't have to do anything." She doesn't close her eyes, but the focused look returns to them. But nothing happens - not right away. She's afraid a sudden flash of outside control might damage him further, so she's easing into this a bit.

"I don't know," Peter admits, shaking his head. It seems as if that would be something he would like to be able to try, but at the same time… "Maybe. Doubt I could manage it- and by the time I do, may not matter anymore." It's said so discouragedly, as if they'd only have a very limited amount of time to do such a thing before losing their window… which they do. "Not only mourning what I lost, Elena. I'm mourning what she lost." Again, said in a soft voice, as if he's not sure how to say the words except in a hint of defeat. "Even if I can get the locket back- which I intend to try after I tell Mr. Bishop- how I feel about his Company now- even if I get it back… it won't return what she's lost that's a lot more valuable than a locket."

From the look he's giving her now, questioning in nature, eyebrows lowered, he's not sure if she'll agree with him on this. But as she sits in front of him, and rests her hands on her knees, he looks down, before glancing up towards her eyes again. There's hesitation, a pause, and then… even if he's not sure exactly what she's doing, except that it's fixing things, he puts his hands down on top of her own, fingers sliding under her palms, giving her easier skin to skin access.

And putting them in a potentially awkward position for anyone who walks in. "Just don't wear yourself out tryin gto help me…" he says, sounding concerned.

"You don't know that for sure," Elena says quietly. She's trying so hard to encourage him, giving him the proverbial, verbal swift kick in the ass to get things going, so to speak - but in a gentler manner, considering she wasn't the sort to kick anyone when they were down. But she does shake her head a bit, glancing away as she tries to collect her thoughts. "I know you intend to confront her father, eventually but….just…try and not do anything -too- reckless." Because confronting Bob in his turf, like what he seems to want to do, was reckless enough. And like Peter said himself, he doesn't have full control of -all- the abilities he managed to absorb. Something bad might happen.

Which is also another reason why she's making sure things are okay with him on a physiological level -before- he does something drastic. She might not be able to help with the Elle situation, but she can at the very least makes sure he can get to the point where he -could- do something signficant about it. It was all about the baby steps.

When his hands reach for her own and curl underneath her palms, she snaps out of it to look down at them, and then look back up to his expression. She gives him a hint of a smile. "Eh. Don't worry about me in this case," she says, keeping her tone light. "I'm a novice, but I've gotten pretty good in a short while. Just….try to relax, okay?"

She closes her eyes for a moment, and takes a deep breath, before opening them again to fix on his face. The look is sharp, as if she could see right through him through his own eyes. Her control extends, and connects, she could sense the workings of his system, and goes for, literally, the heart of the problem. She adjusts his levels, lessens a few, increases a few, gradually moving his body back into a state of balanced homeostasis.

"I have to talk to him sooner or later," Peter says softly, looking away from her again, that flicker of guilt around his eyes. "But I'll be careful. If anything happens to me… well… this apartment contains a lot of my memories. As long as I could still use that ability, I can get a lot of it back. Pieces, at least." And in some ways pieces are important. There's no way to think he wouldn't be just as vulnerable as those he knows who have gone through it. Video journal back ups might be a plan for others, but as someone based so much on emotions… he'd rather have the whole deal, not just a video account.

And does he have full control over any of his abilities that he's absorbed? Something bad happens, or nothing happens at all. Rarely the other way.

Holding onto her hands, he watches her do her work, even lightly squeezing her hands when he eyes reopen. Unable to feel exactly what she's doing, he has an idea that something has been corrected in his body. Whatever was left of the palor on his skin has vanished, settling to normal temperature. With the retraction of the weakness, with the additional strength, he takes in a slow breath and starts to say something she might not expect…

"I'd made a deal with Bishop. Weeks before this, back in March still… I met with him. Told him that I'd consider working with him if he'd promise protection from the mind wipes, the tagging, the imprisonment… to those I have helping me." Now she may understand where the guilty look came from, cause he's doing it again, this time not looking away when he does. The hands in hers loosen, as if expecting her to pull away. "It was before I fought Sylar. Before I knew what Cass was doing. I thought I needed help, needed someone… and Elle had convinced me that I could go to her father. That he might not be moral, but he knew a good business deal when he saw it. We hadn't signed anything yet- I'd avoided going to see him again. And then Elle started to think of leaving… and now- even if he swore protection for everyone… I won't work with that man." Even if he's in love with his daughter.

"So- see? I'm not very strong after all." His eyes shift lower. "Sorry," he apologizes, beginning to pull his hands back, if she hasn't removed hers already.

When her work is over, Elena eases away her control. She doesn't even look strained, the work so quiet, concentrated, and precise that her breathing isn't even affected. But she does nod at what he says in the beginning. "You told me to tell you that," she says. "In case something happens. The text you sent me in New Hampshire. I deleted it from my phone since then, but I remember. Don't worry, I'll do what you asked me when the time comes." She squeezes his hand once. "We share the worry, remember?" It was a promise she was going to keep.

She sees the change, though she feels it more than she sees it. It is a subtle thing, much like her powers when they're in effect. But she knows there's no danger, now, of his powers backlashing negatively and having it toll his body further. She looks satisfied with what she has managed to do. And then, Peter says what he does. The long explanation for the guilty look. He even braves meeting her in the eyes when he says it.

There is silence. Elena is staring at him, her mouth parted slightly as he explains how he made a deal with the Company in exchange to protect the rest of them from the bagging and tagging practice. Only a select group, from what she can hear, not everyone else who could be vulnerable - just those who helped him. Perhaps it was a wakeup call. Perhaps it was indicative as to how helpless he felt, or how clueless he really was in approaching his own weaknesses. But he did need the help. He just didn't have a lot of options at the time. Her fingers grow slack, letting his hands slip away from her. She hears him apologize.

She stands up from the coffee table, and wordlessly walks towards his kitchen. He could hear his fridge opening. When she returns, a bottle of V8 is deposited in his hand.

And true to the famous V8 commercials, she raps a knuckle lightly on his forehead. *Thock*

"You dealt the cards you were given, Peter," she says simply. "I'm not saying I would've done the same. I'm not saying -anyone- could've done the same thing while in your shoes. All I'm saying is that you used your best judgment in the circumstances that were presented to you, with the best intentions. In the end….that's all anyone can really ask of you. It's not like you were out trying to save your own skin. You were trying to look out for us too."

She pauses, and huffs quietly. "Though don't get me wrong. I'm not saying making a deal with the devil is okay," she tells him simply. "All I'm saying is you did the best you could. And not just for yourself, but the people you cared about."

"Right…" Sharing the worry may be exactly why she got the entire guilt unloaded on her, in most of the details no less. As she stands up, Peter slides his hands back onto his own knees, watching her move away, and half expecting her to walk out of the door. Almost everyone's taken his confession about this plan so well, it's bound someone's going to smack him over the head with how stupid it had been. When she puts the bottle of V8 in his hands, though, he's bewildered- and then rapped on the forehead. "Ow," he says, reaching up to rub on it, even if it was a light touch really.

"I had planned to leave you out of it all together," he admits softly. "Because as far as I knew… they didn't know you- didn't know you could do anything- hadn't captured you already. I'd planned to extend the protection to those they already knew of… Jane, Nathan, Mr. Winters, Drake… and… then I'd try to protect the rest of you- everyone- by trying to show Bishop there's another way to do things. I'd known what he'd done to Jane- and to Claire- and I suspected how much he'd messed with Elle's mind- but even then… I thought… I don't know anymore."

Opening the bottle of V8, he takes a drink, and then continues softly, "Thought he could help me fight Sylar. But- the next day almost- I found out what Cass was doing. If I'd found out a few days earlier… I could have called it off before I even got into his office. Before we talked about it."

She doesn't say anything, though Elena glances away when Peter tells her that he intended to leave her out altogether. "I found….a lot of people do that for me actually. Not just because they're not sure of whether the Company knows about me or not. After all, what I can do…it's subtle. I haven't had people knocking on my door acting strangely. Things like that. But I think it's also my age…" She glances down at her hand, curling and uncurling her fingers. "Drake and I are the babies in this entire enterprise," she says softly. "Believe me, you're not the first who's tried to protect me when it comes to the Company. I can't help but feel torn about it a bit. On one hand. it's not like I'm -that- much of a kid. I'm 19 years old. I'm not lacking in the brains department. On the other hand….I'm happy about it. That other people care enough about me to attempt it. Even those who don't know me well, like Dr. Suresh."

She takes a seat next to him on the couch, but she doesn't face him. She leans back on it, and looks up at the ceiling. "I'm not so sure about that now though. A woman named St. James engaged me in a conversation in the Bobst Library late at night, before I left for New Hampshire. She talked about Dr. Suresh, asked what my interest in him was since I knew about Activating Evolution, she had a copy of the book with her. I ran into Dr. Suresh the day I was leaving, and he warned me about her. So I don't know. Like you, I don't know anymore."

She looks over at him and she smiles ruefully. "I'm relieved though that you decided to renege in your agreement with Mr. Bishop. Especially after everything, I think you should." She pauses, for a while. Silence that stretches out for a bit before she speaks up again. "Peter, do you th-"

Her phone vibrates. Her personal alarm is ringing. She picks it up to look at a memo she programmed for herself on the phone, before she sighs. "I'd stay longer," she says quietly. "But I can't today."

"Actually has nothing to do with your age, Elena," Peter assures softly, running a hand through his hair. "But now that you mention it- guess it's not that special." Did she embarass or insult him with that? It's difficult to tell. "I'd decided not to do it weeks ago- pretty much the day after I said I'd look at the contracts. But even then it still could have happened. They ruined it the second they touched Elle's memories." Didn't have to be memories of him, either. Cleaning out any of his close friends would have made him turn against the idea.

Her half finished sentance, which sounded like it would have become a question, earns a frown, especially when it's cut off. He opens his mouth, "Do I what?" …But her personal alarm, the need to leave, and he sighs softly. "I understand." Once again, he stands up, looking towards the door, and then over towards the puppy, who has somehow fallen asleep right on her chew toy. "All right. If you need any help with- whatever it is you're going off to do- you know how to contact me…" Extending the offer of assitance, without outright saying 'let me help you.'

She looks over at him and smiles ruefully. "I know," Elena says simply. While she doesn't know how to parse that reaction, she lets it slide and instead just lets him know that she knows where he's coming from, without saying much. He already revealed enough today, and she didn't have the heart to pry. As open as Peter was with the people he meets, deep down he was a private person. Part of her already felt a little guilty for making him talk so much, with her talking back so little. Her lack of experience worked against her today. She didn't even know if she was right in half the things she said. Or if they were reasonable or sound.

She stands up from the couch, and reaches out to clasp her fingers with his for a moment. "I do," she says simply. "And I know." She hesitates, it looks like she's about to say something more about the thing she intends to do, if she intended to do something….but decides against it for now. Peter had a full plate. She wasn't about to add onto it even more. "Get some rest, okay? I did what I could but it's up to you to handle what I couldn't manage to reach."

She turns away then, and starts moving for the door.

Somewhere Near Kirby Plaza, New York

It was quiet, and dark. The weather was getting cold again, fitting for what she was about to do. Elena had waited in the cafe across the street for hours, and small dining places in New York City can be open forever. When closing time finally arrives, she pays her bill, pulls up her dark hood, and moseys out of the diner she had been waiting in.

The mailbox is the typical one - blue, and rusted where weather continued to chip at the paint. Walking towards it, she looks over her shoulder, and then to the side. Most office buildings were closed, save for the street lights flickering above her head, the street was empty and full of its shadows. Once she has ascertained that there is no one around, Elena draws the black marker out of her pocket, and drops on one knee in front of the mailbox, inscribing a circle right in the middle of its body, the one facing the building across the street. By now, she knew the symbol by heart. It often found its way into her dreams, a sole reminder of some unfinished business.

With the alchemical symbol inscribed, she stands up, pockets, the marker, and walks off, turning a corner and disappearing. What she leaves is a simple request, hidden by the guise of vandalism that was commonplace in New York.

He'll be able to find it easily.

And, hopefully, he'll give her the time of day.

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