2009-12-20: The Life You Save Could Be Your Own



Date: December 20th, 2009


One confusion leads to another. But at least two lives are saved in a few ways in this log.

"The Life You Save Could Be Your Own"

New York

Winter in New York means many things. Snow and cold are among them, and it's not even winter yet. Snow has been shoveled off the roads and walkways, but there's still dark slush everywhere, and snow still falls. Where it's melted, there's the threat of black ice— ice that the eyes can't see, where people slip and slide and fall. Many people don't walk in this if they have a choice. But some people do. Wrapped in a thick dark scarf and a long coat, Peter wanders down the street looking into store windows. It's late. Some stores still have lights on, still showing open signs. Others are cleaning up and people getting to go home.

There's a bus stops down the street, the buses and cabs still run regularly, getting those who don't want to walk home, or to the nearest subway. Neither of these are on his list— he's got easier ways to get around the city if he needs to. But that doesn't mean he's not looking for something specific. He stops in front of a closed store and frowns. Last he remembered, this store was open. It sold novelty suits and ties that he bought every year for his brother. Now the store is empty, closed. And he doesn't remember when that happened.

If there is anyone who can sympathize with Peter's inability to remember certain things, that person is Jenny— or 'Isabelle,' as she now calls herself. She knows certain things, but other things are much too fuzzy, often seeming to her like little more than anecdotal tales. Like how Isabelle Ashford died. It was her, she's sure of it. She should have been healed, she should have lived. It is on that very topic that she seems to be arguing with God, the sky, or the people around her— though they change frequently as she walks along the street, getting somewhat animated as she does so and shaking her hands about in loud conversation. It might make more sense of there were a Bluetooth headset visible on one of her ears, but her flowing red hair — mostly tucked under a bright red knitted cap — hides both ears, making no such discovery possible.

"It wasn't supposed to happen like that, you should have done something, not let her die like that." It certainly does sound like she's cursing God, but she is also greatly distracted, often looking not up but to her side. She's looking into the windows. Into her reflection. Unfortunately, distractions in a big city like New York are a very bad thing, and she quite literally just walks out into the street. Sure, she's at a cross-walk, but her light was red.

The voice catches Peter's attention, drawing his eyes away from the empty store window. There's always noise in the city— the sounds of cars driving down the street, the sounds of bottles getting kicked over. There's always noise. But somehow that voice stands out more than the rest, in ways he doesn't even understand. She's closer— that could be it.

The light is red. And the road is slick. While speaking to herself, she fails to notice a bus moving quick down the street trying to make his next stop on schedule. Evening traffic is always less than daytime traffic, more empty streets, less excuses for a bus being late. No excuses, really. Except a young woman walking right out in front of one.

The driver doesn't notice until the last second, barely has time to swirve. The potential for ice on the road makes such sudden changes in direction very dangerous— but it doesn't help save her.

How he was able to move so fast, he doesn't even know. Abilities kick in when he least expects it. The sight of the woman, the bus, all of it ran through his mind, and he's suddenly running toward her. He shouldn't have made it in time, but he did. Grabbing her by the sleeve, he pulls her back toward the sidewalk— and lets go. She'll likely fall down— but she gets less of an impact than him. He couldn't control his momentum. The speed that got him there fast, propelled him into the bus head on. It all happens so fast. The bus swirves, ends up turned sideways in the middle of the road when it comes to a stop— and someone lays in the middle of the road, body twisted in odd directions— head split open on the concrete.

"Hey, what-" Isabelle's first words are cut off as she tumbles into the muckbank that is the side of the road. Seems she missed the slick and uncovered pavement that was the dipped sidewalk. The sounds from behind her make her tremble, and she turns about, covered in black slush. "Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus." Her eyes go wide and tearful as she beholds the wreck. Well, not exactly a wreck. The bus is merely blocking traffic. It's more the body she's horrified by. A hand goes to her hair, brushing some of the slush away. Thankfully, most of it was caught in her red cap, which is knocked off by her shaking hand. Her vision flickers just a bit before her eyes, and it almost feels like she's blacking out when she suddenly catches herself. Now she's standing, walking into the middle of the road where the body is. She winces as she places a hand on the side of her cheek. It almost looked like she'd cut herself for a moment, but there's no cut in sight. She can hear the horns honking around her, but she's compelled to see this person, realizing that whoever it is just saved her life.

Wide eyes look down at the body. She's seen this much bloody before. It was there when she tried to undo what that bastard did. She can remember the pain, excruciating as it was. Truly, no words can quite do justice to the pain. Her eyes flicker quickly over the body as she kneels down, straightening Peter's twisted body. She bites at her lip slightly, her hand covered in his blood, holding his crown as she is, and brushing away a chunk of metal. Her free hand moves to the man's face, her other holding his head. She feels all tingly all over, her hair damp from the snow and slush as she grips Peter's face and head quick strongly, something fierce in her eyes.

Someone shouldn't be able to survive this. The first touch doesn't get a response, not even a twitch. By all accounts, he should be dead. The piece of metal starts it along, though. And what she does to him, pushes it faster, jumpstarts everything. Even with her ability, it shouldn't happen this quickly. Eyes fly open wide and Peter suddenly yells. Pain rips through him, down his spinal cord, to the ends of his nerves. The nerves touch every point in the body, and everything in him is in pain.

The bus driver has gotten out, commanding passangers to stay where he is— a radio wire trails behind him. He'd been reporting the incident, now he stands with his mouth wide open.

Legs kick out, resetting bones. Broken skin heals over, smooth— the fractured and broken skull regrows, everything returning to normal. The pain should continue longer— she should have to keep doing this— but what she did got amplified and helped along by another ability. Not that she would know this.

Even after, his eyes remain wide. The scream stops, leaving his mouth wide open.

There may not be many people watching, but between a cab blocked in traffic, the bus driver and all his passangers— there's enough people seeing this situation that it isn't going under the radar.

Blinking, his eyes move, looking at the woman in confusion. The world that made little sense may make more sense now— but he just died, came back to pain, and suddenly recalled three years of lost memories. He's going to need a minute.

Isabelle doesn't use her ability on other people very frequently, and even if she did, she doesn't think she'll ever be able to take the screaming. Especially not after Isabelle Ashford. She, of course, knows that kind of screaming well. She's done it before, on more occasions than she cares to remember— or can, for that matter. Thankfully for her, it ends far sooner than she expected. Her eyes, which were closer to drifting closed than before she started, widen at that, and though Peter blinks at her, she goes unblinking. She's staring at him, almost shocked. Though she shouldn't be. Or should she? He was /dead/. Somewhere deep down, she knows this. The man was dead, and her ability shouldn't have done a thing, and yet…. it worked. Her wide, unblinking eyes soon narrow in confusion, and she starts shaking her head and backing away. She very nearly trips over the slush embankment she fell into earlier.

The first thought he happens to have is 'I died again…' the next one is 'She helped me'. The woman Peter knows he saved, had done something, whether she knows it or not. He doesn't know what she did, but he knows so much that he had forgotten. The headache he'd had for the last few months is finally gone. As he pushes himself up out of the blood pooling in the street, something about his face shifts and changes, the scars he'd forgotten how to mask disappearing as he pulls back together. For a year he'd hid the scars from everyone— for months he didn't know how.

And then he hears the voice of the bus driver. Cursing.

"We have to get out of here," he suddenly says, moving closer to the woman backing away. "You have to leave. I might be able to make them forget what you looked like, but you have to leave. It's dangerous." There were witnesses. He's already on the government radar. He doesn't want to endanger someone who gave him back who he is.

"What do you mean it's dangerous?" Isabelle asks, though she wonders about how stupid she sounds asking it. How can't it be dangerous? She just resurrected a man in the street— or at least, that's what it probably looked like to everyone else. She spots her red knit cap in the slush and pulls it free, though she won't be wearing it again anytime soon. She shakes it at him, "What do you mean you can make them forget what I look like?"
This is not the conversation to have in the middle of the street. Peter knows it. It's going to cause some problems, but he turns toward the two people he thinks got the best look and sends a thought to then.

You don't remember what she looks like. Just a girl. Could be anyone.

And then he moves forward and reaches out for her. "I'll explain everything, you just have to come with me. Please." And he'll hope that no one else got a good look— it's dark. The windows of the bus have ice and fog on them. Even with hands wiping to remove it. The bus driver and the guy in the cab— they seem most likely to have seen something identifiable.

Isabelle follows along, though only because she wants to know what this guy is talking about. And eventually she should probably thank him for saving her from being hit by a bus, even if she saved him after he was hit by said bus. She runs a hand through her hair, getting more muck out as she follows Peter.

They don't have to go far. The bus driver's already coming after them, telling them to stop. Peter doesn't stop. He keeps a firm hold, and closes his eyes… and suddenly they're not standing in the cold slush of the street, but in a dark room with the lights out. It's warm, indoors— but definitely not the middle of the street.

This is the woman who needs no taser to inflict pain. She's also very nimble on her feet. The instant Isabelle's suddenly somewhere that is not the middle of the street she was in only a moment prior, she goes into defensive mode. That's a two-step process, in this case. The first involves her kicking — very hard — at any part of Peter's body she can access. The next part, in her experience, usually happens when they touch her to try and stop the physical assault. But hey, she can incite it too with just a touch to the hand, or face. Any skin, really, and if she wanted to, she could probably push it through clothes if she tried. Nevertheless, anyone who tries to get their hands on her are usually in for a very mean shock.

The kick lands solidly on his leg, sending him stumbling back a few feet. Peter doesn't reach for her, though, just lets out an 'ow' that continues for a few seconds as he moves back and further away, running into a table and making another ow. It's dark in the room, but as eyes adjust, there's little in the way of furnature. A bookshelf that has some things upon it, a small table with a lamp that he just ran into. It's a sparce room.

He twists around and turns on the lamp and then puts his hands up, "Sorry, I just had to get us out of there before anyone came. They saw me heal in the streets and there are people that would lock me up for that. And you too for association."

He's lucky she never had the chance to touch him, though Isabelle can be seen holding her hand out as though intending to do so, her eyes livid. Then her expression falls slightly and she looks down. "Sorry," she says. "A little warning would have been nice, though." The she looks up at Peter, who stands half a foot taller than she does, "Wait, you healing?" Because she distinctly recalls being the one doing the healing.

At least the taller man seems mindful to keep his distance. Or at least Peter's trying his best not to make her panic. Even though he's got more than a little blood soaking through his heavy and dark clothes. "Yeah, me healing— I was hit by a bus— I'm not sure how many broken bones I had, but my blood was all over the road." He doesn't seem to understand what she's questioning, there. He thinks she did something else, something that fixed his memories. If painfully.

"I know," Isabelle replies, since her hands are covered in that aforementioned bloody. Some got on her pants, too, and though it's not quite as noticeable, some in her red peacoat, too. "But you healed?" It seems more a thought of her own than a question, as she thinks for a moment and agrees that him healing would definitely answer the question of how he healed so quickly under her touch. "I don't underst— why would they lock you up for that?"

Why would they? Why wouldn't they seems to be the answer to that question, but— "There's some people in the government who are seeking to lock up people who— do things that other people can't. Like coming back from the dead," Peter tries his best to explain, suddenly wondering if the woman did anything at all. "You did something to me, didn't you? Before today I couldn't remember a lot of things, and now I can."

It was her doing. She sped it up, she did something his body had been trying to do since the beginning. And she removed the piece of metal that'd been stuck in his brain, keeping that section from healing over even when it tried. And causing quite the headache.

"I… did this thing… um." Isabelle closes her eyes a moment, shifting to a far less defensive posture as she pulls a little switchblade out of one of her coat pockets. It seems her coat serves as her purse, though the pockets seem mostly empty from the outside. She flicks it open and goes at her hand with the blade, making a few long but superficial cuts. It almost seems like she smiles as she does it, a bit of a lopsided grin and bite of her lip as she looks at Peter. She drops the knife on a table and then puts her other hand onto the wounds. As soon as she presses down she takes a number of quick breaths, sweat beading along her brow, her pupils dilated and eyes tearing. Seeming to be winding down from something, she leans against the wall, panting and showing off the now only bloody but clearly no longer injured hand.

"What are you— What are you doing?" Peter exclaims, finally moving closer to her as she heals. It's much like what he could do, but it seems different at the same time. But it fills in some questions. "You can heal too?" he asks, though he reaches to pick up the knife, and look at it. Still covered in blood. "There's a sink in the— it's this way." The whole cutting herself thing seems to have jarred him as he carries the knife into another room. This is a house, not an apartment, by the look of the lay out.

The sink is turned on, the knife rinced off, and he looks back and says, "My name's Peter— in the middle of everything I forgot to introduce myself."

Only a nod is offered to Peter's question, the defensive stance returning as she follows him to the bathroom. When Isabelle washes both her hands off — they both had some of Peter's blood — and also uses a cloth to take some off of her face, she realizes her hair is dirty from the mucky slush she landed in. Truthfully, a fair bit of her coat is, too. And her pants. "I'm such a mess," she says. "I'm…" She flicks her tongue, "I'm Isabelle." It feels like a lie. Probably because it is. And she looks guilty. But then, she looked guilty for kicking him in the leg, too. "Um, thanks for saving me."

"Seems like you tried to save me too," Peter says, though he doesn't quite understand how. "Can you heal other people as well? I've only met people who can do one or the other— heal themselves or heal others." While he speaks, he takes off his bloodied scarf and looks down at it. Even dark, he knows it's ruined. He has no intention of trying to clean it up. He drops it into the sink. The coat— he'll try to clean up. It just may take a while. "I tried to make them forget what you looked like, but you should be careful. I can take you home, or somewhere close to home."

Again, Isabelle's only answer is a nod to his question. At least, initially. "Can and should are two completely different things," she says defensively, stripping her coat off. At least her shirt and the first few inches of her jeans are still dry and not in debatable degrees of garbage-worthiness. The somewhat blood-stained coat and her— nope, her cuffs are bloody too. So much for the shirt. Blood does not come out of clothes very easily. She knows this from experience. A sigh escapes her lips and she shakes her head. Pretty much everything she's wearing is blood-stained. "I suppose I could cut the sleeves off…."

"Um," Peter says, looking a little confused for a minute, before he moves away to take off his coat. The shirt under it has blood too, as do his jeans, but his coat is the only one he wants to try to save. "I can get you some clothes. They'll be a little big, but it can work until I can get you back home…" If she has a home? She didn't answer that unasked question, just like she didn't really answer the one he asked…

Interestingly, as though she's completely forgotten that there's a man present — or, for that matter, anyone else — Isabelle strips the shirt off, leaving nothing above the waist other than her light pink bra, and starts to do just that: Cut off the sleeves from the elbow using her switch blade. It's very uneven. "Home." She says it with a huff and a snort. "Yeah, wouldn't that be nice? Go back there." She doesn't sound particularly enthusiastic. "I need a shower," she declares.

And off comes the shirt. It's nothing he hasn't seen, as a nurse and a paramedic (and a man who has had girlfriends). But after a brief glance in surprise, he focuses fully on her face. Peter isn't going to oogle her, if he can avoid it. "Uh— there's a shower in the bathroom. It's just down the hall and on the right," he says, voice showing his confusion. He'd been confused for months. But now he's confused for a different reason.

Isabelle takes the newly trimmed shirt with her. "You said you could get me clothes?" she asks as she passes by, though it comes off more like a request than anything as she follows his directions to the bathroom. She refolds her underclothes and leaves them on the edge of the sink. The coat was left with Peter, and the pants are too bloody to bother with anymore. The shirt isn't folded, but is set aside, likely to be used again. Apparently she took the switchblade with her into the shower, since it's nowhere to be seen, and her voice can be heard talking while she showers.

"Yeah, I— I'll leave them outside the bathroom door…" Finding clothes gives him something to do, rather than stand confused. Peter scrounges up some t-shirts that will probably be a little too big, but still fit, and some draw string sweat pants. The jeans probably wouldn't work, so those can be more easily adjusted. He sets them down outside the bathroom and moves to wait in another part of the house— incase she decides to step out unclothed.

It's an awfully long shower. Very long shower, actually. It's nearly forty minutes before Isabelle emerges, red hair hanging in damp tendrils, dressed in a baggy black t-shirt and grey sweats. It's not her favourite choice of colours, but it beats dirty clothes by miles. She looks somewhat confused and in awe as she walks around barefoot— having managed to misplace her sneakers and socks. "It's a nice house you've got here," she says, her voice a bit on the shy side, with a faint trace of a southern drawl.

"I just recently moved in, I don't have much in the way of decorations yet," Peter admits, as he looks around his bare house. One of the few decorations he does have, is a small Christmas tree. One of the plug in pre-decorated ones. LED. The colors on the tree change. "But thank you." He glances down at her bare feet on the wood paneling. "Were you shoes and socks ruined too? I— I don't think I can replace those, but— you never did say where you live."

"I… I don't remember where I put them," Isabelle admits, blushing. She keeps her distance, twirling a finger through her hair. Already embarrassed, she doesn't bother to answer Peter's probe for her address. She doesn't live anywhere. That she knows of, anyway. There was that one place in Maine, but that feels both so long ago…. Yet at the same time, it feels like yesterday.

Okay— Peter can tell when a question isn't going to get answered. There's a glance around his house for a moment, before he asks something completely different, "Do you need a place to stay for the night? I have a guest room. It could give you some time to settle after the accident." She nearly got hit by a bus. It would be a scary experience for anyone, even someone who cuts their hand open.

Times like these, Isabelle wishes her memory were more like swiss cheese than it already resembles. For a moment, it seemed like what happened hadn't. After all, they were both OK. This man that saved her is in one piece— apparently more of his own accord than hers. "Oh Gawd," she says. "I almost died." For a fleeting moment, she looks around as though trying to find an escape route, before she turns to face Peter, "I, um… Could I stay here?"

Shock. Peter can explain her behavior quite easily in his head— shock from a near-tramatic incident. "Of course you can stay here," he repeats, moving down the hall to open a door. It's obviously a bedroom, if not a well furnished one. To say it has a bed would be an exageration— it has a matress and sheets and a comforter. But there's also an alarm clock on a stack of books, and a closet. "You can stay as long as you need, Isabelle." But she's not getting the guest room. All he has in the guest room right now is floor.

Well-furnished or not, it has a bed. Isabelle pushes past Peter into the room, giving it a cursory once-over as she does. From the small bulge in the back pocket of the sweats, it's obvious she still has the switchblade on her. Quite likely, she won't relinquish it, either. She touches the door and then looks at Peter, nervously for a moment. "Thanks, Peter," she says, before closing the door.

"You're welcome," Peter says, a tinge of confusion in his voice, as he looks at the closed door. The pain in his head may be gone, but somehow he's still confused. Turning away from the door he goes to find his cellphone. With his memory back, there's some people he needs to contact as soon as possible. Luckily he didn't forget the last few months in exchange, either—

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