2007-10-17: The Prodigal Jack Returns


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Summary: While waiting for Elena outside of her parish, Peter runs into a certain someone who has just returned to the city. Nuncle Jack is back! And he has plans to pwn some b's.

Date It Happened: October 17th, 2007

The Prodigal Jack Returns

Saint James Cathedral, Brooklyn, New York

The bell chimes ominously, the sound echoing through the vaulted ceilings of the St. James Cathedral in Brooklyn. The stained glass windows cast faint versions of themselves on the marble floor of the church, daylight streaming through them and keeping the spangle of colors sliding across with the way the clouds are moving outside. The church, so far, is empty, and quiet, save for a couple of people in the middle pews reading the missals and murmuring their prayers to themselves.

There wasn't much room for faith these days. The scandals from the recent slew of child abuse cases leveled against the Roman Catholic Church didn't do much for its attendance either.

A confessional booth opens up, a young woman stepping outside and accompanied by an older gentleman with snow-white hair, and crow's feet around his blue-gray eyes. Elena turns to murmur something to the priest, who rests a hand on her shoulder and murmurs some words.

"Give my regards to your father, Elena," Father Brady tells her gently.

"Thanks, Father."

With his phone call with the Company Agent he met most recently completed, Peter puts his phone back into his pocket, jaw set with frustration and his face both pale and flushed at the same time. He's not looking too well, in fact he looks even more tense than usual. The phone call must not have gone too well. As he's not part of the parish, he stops in the main doors and waits, looking to spot her and Father Brady both, hands sliding into his pockets to avoid touching things too much. They're sick— they need to be as careful as possible still.

Jack limps unsteadily up the steps to the only church he's ever set foot in. Just outside the door, he pauses to dig a white cylinder from a pants pocket. With a brisk flick of his thumb, he snaps the safety cap free from the pen injector and jabs the needle in by his ribs where the hole in his shirt and any spots of blood will be concealed by his coat. After holding it in place for ten seconds, he jerks it free, reaffixes the cap, and stuffs the entire unit back into his pocket. When he resumes his entry his steps are steadier. He no longer presses a hand protectively to his abdomen. All the same, Jack is in no better condition than he usually is after leaving town without an explanation. His nose has been recently broken and is covered by a wide adhesive bandage. A second bandage is pasted to the side of his neck. His usual scattering of bruises and scrapes are in evidence as well. His clothing is simple, but so new it still smells of the rack. White t-shirt, jeans, loose, dark leather coat. He also has a red bag slung around his shoulders that hangs and bulges heavily.

When Jack steps inside he's so preoccupied with his own pending confession that he nearly collides with… "Peter?" The Irishman's grey eyes blink owlishly, a sign of his surprise. "Shit. You look like I feel."

At the near collision that ends in his name, Peter turns to look at the form and blinks in surprise, "Jack? Jesus— what happened to you?" He'd not even heard that he was gone. They'd not exactly been the closest of friends in this timeline, and their interactions occassionally had months of lag— but now that he thinks on it he probably should have seen him earlier, with his not-niece and one of his best friends both sick… And yes, he just cursed in a church. In the very opening of one at least. "No— I'm— I'm sick, but it's nothing that— you don't feel sick, right? You look injured but…" He trails off, unsure. There's a hesitation as it looks like he might want to reach out and touch the man, but…

"I'm fine. Wear and tear. Not sick either. At least not with what you've got, so paws off, pretty boy." Jack's easy grin and his relaxing posture take the sting out of his gentle jibe. He lowers his voice and leans a little closer to Peter. As quick as it appeared, his smile vanishes. "We need to talk. Soon. Not here. Manly stuff. I'll find you at the lab."

When Jack leans back he's smiling again. "So, what brings you here? You've never really struck me as the Catholic sort."

In another situation, there might have been a smile, or at least a hint of one. Peter nods, though, his jaw still tight. "Wasn't about to hug you, or anything, but now you'll just have to heal the old fashioned way," he does say, explaining his temptation to reach out and touch. "We can talk later— yeah. I'm not a practicing Catholic, at least— but— It's Elena. Her roommate…" he hesitates. "She died. In an attack on Central Park. She wanted to see the Father. I didn't want her out alone right now."

Jack's jaw likewise tenses, and he nods to Peter. "Thanks for the offer, but I earned my scrapes this time around. I plan to learn a lesson from them. Good man for keeping an eye on our girl. I heard about the attack. Damn shame. Nadia was pretty, and young, and fun. Full of life." There's a cold, angry disappointment in Jack's eyes as he stares at some point over Peter's shoulder, searching for his niece. "How's our girl holding up?"

There's a visible wince, and Peter turns around, eyes also seeking out 'their girl'. His girlfriend, this man's not-niece. They both love her in their own way— "She's… not great. This kind of thing is never… easy to deal with." And how could it ever be, honestly? "Especially since we don't know what we can possibly do to make sure this sort of thing never happens again. She wants to do something about it— and so do I." But he doesn't look like he's in any state of health to do much about it.

She seems to be holding up just fine, despite the pale pallour, and the fact that she looks thinner than Jack has seen her last. Her steps have a purpose, rejuvinated maybe by the conversation she had with the priest. Elena nods a bit to what Father Brady says, and turns around to start heading through the alcove leading to the outside world. Dipping her fingertips into holy water, the sign of the cross is made….though she freezes when she sees someone else with Peter by the door. "…..Jack…?" Her voice is hoarse, run raw from coughing and the good, somewhat violent cry she made earlier that day. Her steps quicken, bolstered further by the presence of her nuncle. She's about to launch herself at him really, despite lacking the constitutional fortitude to do so….but she stops herself in the last minute. She doesn't want to infect him. "When did you come back? I'm so glad to see you!"

"Oh, don't worry. Something will be done— Elena!" Mindless or unconcerned with the consequences, Jack scoops his niece up into his arms and pulls her against his chest for a hug. "I got back late last night, and I know enough about medicine to know that if it isn't airborne, I probably can't get it from a hug. Squeeze tighter, you sissy. I missed you." His voice is husky as well, and his relief at seeing Elena eclipses that of an uncle who has been out of town.

"…You told me not to touch you, but you go over and hug her?" Peter says, actually moving towards the slightest hint of a smile, because… well… it is rather funny. He doesn't try to huddle around and slap the man on the back, but he does move up closer so that they're all within the same basic area. "It's still a worry, Jack. You might want to get your blood tested— we think this thing came from the quaratine at Sinai— and you were there with us."

Her state was already a bit unstable, so when Jack pulls her bodily in a hug, Elena's arms curl around him tightly, her eyes welling up with tears again - though she manages to blink them back this time. "I missed you too. Where have you been? I've been trying to call, but… you look like crap." She pulls back to look at him, a small smile on her face. "…which means you fit right in with this crew." She gestures to her and Peter. Though at the younger Petrelli's quip, she winks at him. "I think it's because I'm cuter," she says - an attempt at a joke that doesn't quite reach her eyes. But she tries. She is mindful of the holy water she touched…she's going to have to get rid of it.

Now Jack does reach out to squeeze Peter's upper arm and smile crookedly. One of Elena's many talents is her ability to pierce Jack's emotional barrier. "Oh, I don't know. I think he's pretty cute, but I'm fairly sure he's got the wrong plumbing for me. Speaking of plumbing…" He glances from Peter's face to Elena's, then back again. "Been making any service calls while I was away?" It's an obvious deflection. Jack is avoiding two topics. His own absence and Nadia's death.

There's that moment where Peter just stares at Jack, almost like someone caught doing something they shouldn't be doing by someone who would actually be proud of it if it were done. Not that he's ashamed, but there's certain things that gentlemen don't speak about, even to close friends. He hasn't even told his brother about certain… um… adventures in plumbing. "I don't think that's a very appropriate topic for a church, Jack," is what he says, voice a little hoarser than it should be, whispered. And not just because he's sick. The question caught him by surprise. And in light of it, the blow to his manhood got passed over mentally. When honestly the second question is a point or two in his favor as a man, if he answered positively…

Her jaw drops open. Grief is forgotten momentarily when Jack says what he does. "JACK!" Elena groans from where she stands, swatting at the much-taller man. "That's not exactly church conversation," she hisses a little lower, looking over her shoulder at Father Brady who is conferring with two other parishoners inside. "You're impossible," she says exasperatedly. But by the way her face is fired up should indicate the answer enough. A 'see what I have to put up with' expression is cast to Peter. But she moves over so she could find a way to remove the rest of the tainted holy water that she touched.

"Hah! He's been inside you," Jack chortles, giving Elena a swat on the backside as she heads back toward the holy water. "That means I have to stop treating you like a little girl, I think. But it also means that if he screws up, I'll tear off his coinpurse and make it into a… Well, a coinpurse, I guess." He turns to wink at Peter, and though he's still smiling, it's a toothy expression and there's a unabashed tightness about his eyes that positively screams 'I Will Remove Your Genitals Using A Hammer.'

Sadly, one can't stay distacted by sexual quips forever. Jack limps after Elena and touches her elbow gently. "I'm sorry. And I'm sorry about your friend. I plan to do something about it, you have my word on that."

Oh god. Peter brings his hand up to his face. Not quite hiding in shame or anything, but certainly embarassed. He rubs his hands there almost as if to scrub away the threat that's been made. Good thing it'll grow back, if his hand was any indication, but it's not an experience he wants to have in his lifetime. He follows towards the holy water after a moment and shakes his head. Jack, Jack. But there's other topics that— are less threatening to his genitals. "What do you mean you plan to do something about it? What?"

There's a yelp at the swat, Elena spinning around, covering her posterior with one hand and staring at him. "….why do I love you?" she grumps at the Irishman, still inspecting the holy water recepticle. It's just a silver basin. Maybe she should just bogart it, and pray for forgiveness later. But when her elbow is touched, she looks over at Jack. The more lighthearted expression fades, and she looks away to the side. For a moment it looks like she could be crying again, remembering how her roommate and BFF left her a voice message begging her to come home already a few hours before her death. "I was thinking…" she begins quietly, turning to focus on Jack again. "Of leaving the lab a bit so I can go to her funeral. Not just to say goodbye but…" Her lips press in a grim line. "If the papers are right and her father's a mafia boss? He might be interested to know who and what killed his daughter. If the Company can't do anything, and the police can't do anything, I'll go to people who answer to neither." But when Peter poses his question…it's a good one. She blinks at Jack. "…you…you are?"

"Damn right. I plan to kill whoever killed Nadia, of course. I'm old fashioned. Her father is who you think he is. I imagine he and I have similar plans." Jack frowns. He wants to hug, and comfort, and fix everything, but right now that's a tall order. He's already made a promise he may have trouble keeping. For now, he glances from Elena to the basin, then up to the Father. "Hey Padre," he calls out. "I sneezed in the holy water. Sorry, but we gotta change it."

When Jack glances back at Elena and Peter he looks appropriately guilty. "I'll tell him when I confess. Anyway, if it's okay with you, I'd like to come to the funeral. I liked Nadia. She was a bold lass."

That this man might be capable of killing someone does not surprise Peter. He'd seen the Saints go in guns blazing more than a few times, and this is the kind of situation he knows they would kill for. Still, he looks on quietly for a time, not cracking anymore smiles. He glances down as he talks more about Nadia, and when he looks up again it's directly at the young woman he's dating, instead of Jack. "I want to… be able to help." A tense look in his eyes has little to do with his illness.

"Derex, you filthy sod. You haven't been in confession for a month," Father Brady remarks blandly to his fellow Irishman. "But I trust that's what you're here for anyway. Either that, or make good on my stash of Jameson." He waves a hand, letting the young ones do what they will with the holy water bowl, and turns away when a parishoner accosts him.

At what Jack confesses …that wasn't church conversation either. Elena looks around quickly hoping the sound of that didn't carry. She flashes Jack a look….but while the bold declaration would shock her normally, and she would usually be the first to tell Jack not to and that he was crazy and he should be good…there's none of that this time. She doesn't even know which of the three escapees she had seen in the shared dream had killed her, but they can find that out if they speak to Carmine "Power Drill Master" Selvaggi. "…all this time I didn't think she…I didn't even know she was…" No wonder she hated the Soprano jokes. But she shakes her head, her eyes meeting Peter's, and then looking at Jack. "I know you and Mr. Selvaggi…didn't exactly part in excellent terms the last time but…I think what we can give him would be able to make up for it. Do you want what we know?" A glance is cast back to Peter. He knew more, he's been victimized by them. Or at least one of them.

"I want to know everything you know," Jack replies, nodding. "I'm sure once we collect our notes, Carmine and I will be able to get along. As much of a shit as he is, no man deserves to outlive his daughter." He fixes his eyes on Elena's for a moment, then on Peter's. "I won't lie. I'm concerned about your sickness. Are you sure you wouldn't rather I handled this?" He's pretty sure he already knows the answer to his question, but he has to ask it.

"I'm not so sick that I can't try to help," he says stubbornly. "Let's go outside first. This isn't the right kind of conversation for a church," Peter says, shaking his head a little and suddenly appearing unable to look them in the eyes. The presense of the Father may have something to do with it. He's not overly religous, but there's some conversations not suited for a house of God, and planning to commit murder, even an act of vengeance, is definitely one of those conversations not to have… In his opinion, at least. "As long as we're clear this is for more than Nadia. They killed a lot more than her— and more before that… and probably even more before they escaped from where they were held." He'll wait outside for them, if it takes a while to catch up.

She was about to say the same thing. Elena doesn't want this talk anywhere close to where Father Brady's sanctuary is. So when Peter reads her mind, without literally doing so, she flashes him a grateful look. "Yeah, not here," she says softly. But when the party starts moving, she picks up the holy water basin and takes it with her. She'll chuck the water out someplace away from public access. Maybe toss it in an incinerator in Seville Medical. So she follows after the two older men, closing her eyes a bit at what Peter says. Once the trio is on the street and moving away, she starts. "One of them tried to kill Peter for good," Elena says softly. "When she found out he couldn't die, she kept killing him over and over. And before then, two of them hurt Cass. The same woman burned her face and her hands…she still has scars. We were told that they escaped from a holding facility run by the Company."

"All I'm hearing is more reasons why we should fast-forward to the part where whoever we're talking about ends up dead." Jack follows them both outside and lights up an unfiltered cigarette as soon as he's cleared the doors. He takes a long draw and continues through a wreath of bluish smoke. The muscles around one of Jack's eyes twitch visibly. "How's Cass doing? I haven't seen her since I got back—shit!" He stutter-steps, almost colliding with Peter for the second time today. He grabs onto the other man's hand, providing support for Peter as well as for himself. After a moment he lets go and reorganizes himself. "Sorry, kiddo. Two left feet tonight."

The near colliding startles him, but Peter looks over at Jack as he's called kiddo (still older than you, man) and he sticks his hands into his coat pockets. The way his shoulders slouch gives a hint of helplessness— as if he's not sure how much help he can even offer, but he still wants to try and give it. "We only know what two of them do. The woman— she's fairly easy to handle. Don't let her touch you or anyone or anything. Take her from a distance. The dark haired man… not so easy. He cuts things from a distance, like Sylar can do. I'm not sure what the third does. Their pictures were all shown in the newspapers— though names weren't given, and their abilities weren't mentioned, of course." That's one thing he can offer, at least. What two out of three of them do, and even advice on how to take down the woman who tortured him, because that's what it was. "Cass is doing okay. I healed her— it didn't fix everything, but… she's okay. She has a scar on her leg and wrist, but that's a lot better than it would've been."

"Don't let her touch me? That sounds easy enough," Jack muses. "As for cutting things from a distance, I can do that, too." With a flick of his wrist, he produces a short, wide-bladed knife from the sleeve of his coat and pantomimes throwing it. "So I'll start looking for those two, and you guys can see if you can find me any info on the third." He tucks away his knife and nods briskly. This is a step beyond Jack's usual overconfidence. There's a reckless, wild glint in his eye, and the tip of his tounge snakes out unconsciously to trail a line along his upper lip.

"We had a shared dream a couple of weeks ago, before everything started going south," Elena tells Jack. "It was weird…something happened that caused people like us in one area to lose control of our powers. Mr. Winters had to put us all down. And before we knew it, we were in this….one of Peter's dreams. The ones that see into the future for a bit. That's when we actually caught a good look at the escapees." She describes Mandy and Jeremiah, the latter clearer than most because she actually tried to stop Jeremiah from cutting into Jane in the dream. "The third one…I don't know….I don't know what he does. And I didn't get a good look at him." At the wild glint in Jack's eye, she can't help but look concerned. "Jack….are you…I mean. You don't look so hot, either," she says tentatively. She doesn't want to mother him. But at the same time if he wants to go after these guys, he's not exactly in tip-top shape.

"Me? I'm stellar. I could run a four-minute mile and still bring three women to simultaneous orgasm, as long as they'd bill me on the same credit card." Jack waves a hand dismissively, busy committing every detail that Elena describes to memory. "I haven't slept in a few days, but I can sleep when I'm dead. For now, there's work to be done."

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