2007-03-12: The Red Thread of Fate (Part Two)

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter "Exploding Man" Petrelli fills Elena in the story of what had happened a few months ago. Elena fills Peter in on present happenings.

Date It Happened: March 12, 2007

The Red Thread of Fate (Part Two)


Starbucks, Lower Manhattan, New York City

PREVIOUSLY ON HEROES MUSH

Destiny has always had an interesting plan for some people. It just so happened that Peter Petrelli chose this moment to walk into this particular Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Nothing heroic or unnatural, a seemingly random event— which leads him to meeting Miss Elena Gomez, one of the people who'd attempted to rescue him from the Company's hold two days before. Now, the two stand, hands locked in the firm grip of a handshake, a physical connection as well as a biological one, thanks to their respective abilities, staring across the counter.

Peter still looks confused. In a moment, he might have started to get worried, but for now he's still wanting to trust and believe that this simple connection with another person wouldn't have an ulterior move, such as one that would lead to putting him back into a cell. Her words, though, get repeated back in his mind. Not through any use of ability, but because it processes once, and then needs a second read. 'One of the people who tried to rescue you two days ago.'

A blink is followed by an abrupt, "What?" It's an odd coincidence. Or not one at all. The hand squeezes gently, "You were? You got out? What happened to the others?"

She doesn't answer at first, Elena's dark eyes still staring at the man before her as if in disbelief. She had never met Peter Petrelli. She only knew him by name, and his possible importance thanks to a certain Japanese time traveler. She was never given the time to contemplate on his nature, or why he was being held by the Company in the first place. All she knew was that he was one of the people who saved the world a few months back, and for some reason he was being locked up and that rescuing him was imperative.

But the coincidence….non-coincidence? It was simply incredible. She heard Drake's words at the back of her mind. This was Destiny. This was God showing her and those like her the way. She shakes the thought away, feeling her mind race. He was here. She was gripping his hand. What was she going to do now? She was barely an adult, picked up and thrown into a swirling chasm of events. What could she do? What SHOULD she do? But the gentle squeeze shakes her out of it. It was time for action. She can parse out the existential questions later. She squeezes his hand back.

"Let me close up," she tells him. "And we'll talk."

Closing up is easy work. She shuts the door and locks it, and starts turning down the lights. "We can go to the back room, it has no windows," she tells him. And then she proceeds to lead the way, hoping he'll follow. She talks as she moves, her heart racing in her chest. "I don't know what happened to the others," she says breathlessly. "We split into two groups. Most of them went to get YOU, including your brother, former Congressman Nathan Petrelli. Another friend of mine went with him, and Mr. Nakamura. He went in with them. My group was supposed to track down the man known as the Haitian, to cause a distraction, and leave. We didn't find the Haitian, but we managed to make a distraction. But something went wrong with the other team. Our radios got cut off, and alarms sounded. The person leading the group then made the 'command decision' to bail. We were getting boxed in, we had to leave or -all- of us would've been…"

She pauses, opening the employee break room, and steps aside to look at Peter. "….I don't know what happened to the second team," she says, worry and dread filling her eyes. "We tried to establish contact. There was no response from any of them. We waited for two days, but we heard nothing. I don't know if they had been killed or captured…"

And Nathan had been with them.

Reaching up to rub his hand over his mouth as soon as they break contact, Peter follows her with his eyes more than his legs, definitely caught up in the moment. Even if the previous months prepared him for fortuitous meetings of rather epic proportions, even this— then again as soon as he broke out he just happened to meet up with Sylar trying to kill or capture his niece. Again. It would appear whatever controls his destiny is not finished with him just yet. As she speaks, he takes slow breaths, carrying his espresso with him as he follows her towards the back room. Most of his responses at first are to nod.

Two groups. One to get him, one to go after the Haitian. They couldn't have known what was going on inside as well as they thought they did. The two teams met with trouble, and— What happened to his brother? When she mentions 'Mr. Nakamura' though, she'll hear a stunned, "Hiro?" before he lets her continue on. Nathan might be captured or killed, as well as Hiro, or this other friend that had been with them. How many were in that room?

"It's not your fault. They knew you were coming," he finally says, after she's finished, running a hand over short cropped hair. "They— they moved me a few hours before it started, and they kept moving me. Never let me stay in one place for more than ten minutes." So when Hiro teleported to his last known area— he hadn't even been there. What happened when they arrived, though, he has no idea. One thing he can answer, though… "The Haitian was with me."

While he might be tempted to take another drink of his espresso right now, he has almost forgotten he has one, standing in the backroom of the Starbucks, weight shifting around as if to pace in place. "You haven't heard from any of them? At all?" How he still managed to escape with the Haitian is left out for now, because there's a haunted and worried look in his eyes.

His brother had been with them.

"Yes. Hiro," Elena says, gesturing for him to walk inside. She closes the door behind her and walks in further. The employee break room is small - the space had been a tiny real estate office before it had been converted. There is a table, a fridge, and a dartboard on the far wall that looks unused. There is also a pile of scattered magazines on the table itself. Otherwise the walls were bare, all the ingenuity in terms of decor had been concentrated on the business area of the joint.

She drops heavily on a seat, which was just as well considering how shaky her legs became. Doubts start filling her head. Was if he wasn't Peter Petrelli? What if he were an impostor? An agent? But they didn't know about her - they wiped her, and left her alone a few weeks back. Out of sight, and out of mind. In fact the only contact she's had with the Company since then had been the Haitian, and he, too, had his secrets. She continues once she's seated. "Hiro was the one who convinced all of us to rescue you to begin with. But…I thought we failed. We didn't find the Haitian. We didn't know he was with you. We didn't have a lot of information to begin with."

And then, when Peter mentions that the Company knew they were coming, Elena nods. "We figured someone ratted us out," she tells him. "But I was let in really late in the game, the very day of the break out plan. I don't even know all of who Hiro spoke to save for the people I was with." And at the last, she shakes her head slowly. "No…..we've been trying so hard," she confesses quietly. "Those of us who managed to escape. We said 'no contact' between all of us for a while and lay low, because after what we did, they'd be looking for us. We took precautions. But we haven't heard from anyone. Not even your brother."

Very possible it could be a trap of some kind, a game. The coincidence might be too much to be believed.

However, the emotion that crosses the young man's eyes couldn't be more genuine. Acting might account for a lot, but the further mention of his brother's possible fate brings out very genuine looking distress. Sliding his hand down from his face, Peter presses his hand against his coat, as if trying to touch something through the fabric. Checking for a weapon? No— he wants to press his hand against the book in his pocket, which happens to have a photograph of his brother trapped between two pages.

Elle didn't think they would kill Nathan. Didn't think they'd even bother to hold him long. Two days, though— he should call the Petrelli house again, see if his mother will answer. Maybe she knows something… The unknown, though, doesn't make this any easier. When he finally looks back at the young woman where she sits, his eyes swim with guilt. "How many of you were there? Did anyone— was anyone with you— hurt?" She said 'managed' to escape. That might mean the whole team didn't.

Someone could have died trying to get him out of there… And it doesn't matter that he might not have ever met them.

This isn't the first time that Elena had been reckless. She was a thinker by nature, one to contemplate before acting, but Peter dropping by has caused most of her rules to fall away in part due to shock and the sudden weight of something that felt inevitable crashing on her. She sets her own cup on the table, though she doesn't drink from it. She tries to calm herself, closing her eyes to collect her thoughts for a moment. When she speaks next, it is slow, and deliberate.

"I don't know…." Elena says softly. "I was brought on the roof, and my team was waiting for me. The only two left from the second team that I saw were your brother and my friend. Jane. Oh god, Jane. Did they kill her? Were they keeping her? She had already been wiped once….God only knows what they did to second-time ofenders. "But in my team there were four others aside from myself, and one dog." A dog? "He belonged to one of ours. The dog didn't make it, but we all managed to get out of it without too many scrapes or bruises." She wasn't harmed at all.

She speaks up again after a few moments of silence. "We've been moving under the assumption that they're keeping the members of the second team. All of them. I don't know who else went, but included in that number is your brother, my friend, and Hiro. Out of all of them I thought Hiro would be the one to be able to escape….but we haven't heard from him. We had to assume…" They had to assume the worst, to keep them sharp. For their own protection. "I hope you understand," she blurts out. "But we had no choice but to leave. We didn't like it, but we had to get away."

Elena finally takes a sip of her coffee, cradling the cup in her hands as she looks up at him. "….but we went in there to get you," she says. "How…? How did you get out? How did you escape?"

At least seven people gathered to rescue him. It shouldn't surprise him that Hiro could find so many, or that Nathan would try to come after him. But it actually does. The timing seems too much. If it'd happened a few months before— if things had gone down differently… Peter finally sets his drink down and pulls out a chair, dropping into it to sit as he thinks. A dog died. Why did they have a dog with them? He doesn't need to ask to care, though, he already looks pained and saddened.

It's her own guilt that draws his eyes up in a surprised glance. "What— no, don't blame yourself." The tension set in around his eyes shows whose fault he thinks it is. They were coming after him. Everything that went wrong— if his brother and Hiro are dead or captured, if her friend is dead or captured— then it's his fault. "You were right to run. It's not your fault, Elena."

Taking in a deep breath, he shifts to sit up, resting an arm on the table. "The— the person they left to guard me, not the Haitian, but the one actually in the cell with me… she let me go. If Hiro took you there…" That must mean she knows about the odd abilities? "…they'd been giving me pills since I got there, every day. They— took away my abilities."

At this, his eyes shift downwards, "I wanted it. Wanted them gone. Wanted them to… fix me. Stop me from hurting anyone else…" How much did they tell them about him? Would they have been inclined to risk their lives for someone so dangerous? "Elle— she swapped my pills out, had been doing that for a week. And she helped me escape. I— got us away from the Haitian, but when I tried to make it back to the cell— where they were— he somehow beat me there. Got turned around in the hallways."

With a guilty inhale, he finishes. "I left them too."

She almost feels guilty watching him set down his cup and cast his eyes to the ground. Even more so now that she was hearing it from the man himself that he wasn't being held against his will - he locked himself in there voluntarily. Nobody told her that. Once again, the people she went out of her way to help had been hiding things from her, when she had been so forthcoming about what she knew…or at least most of it. A flash of anger wells inside her, righteous indignation sparking into her dark eyes. "I was…" Elena says after a pause. "I was given the impression that you were being held against your will. Hiro told me you were instrumental in saving the world the last time. He wanted to get you out because….I hate to sound like the beginning of some crazy comic book, but New York's in peril again and I'm guessing he thought you could help."

Shit.

What have they done?

But when he mentions Elle, he'll see it. A strange look casting over her face. "….Elle?" she says. "An operative named Elle helped you escape?" She falls silent then. She helps Drake fly under the Company's radar, and now she's helping their number one captive escape? It could be a different Elle, but come on. Just how many Elles could be around and involved in the -same- thing? She shakes her head. "Forgive me. I'm familiar with the name. She helped protect a friend of mine. My best friend. I've known for a while there are some people in the Company who aren't as loyal to their orders as the brass would like."

At the last, she tries to give him a reassuring smile. "There's an old saying," she tells him. " 'A good retreat is better than a bad stand.' " She folds her arms on the table. "I think it's apropos in this situation." She looks up to meet his eyes. "Are you dangerous, then?" As straightforward as ever. "I mean, on the scale of one to ten in comparison with the average genetic anomaly like myself."

"I wanted to escape now," Peter explains, giving her a look again. "But even a week ago…" If they'd came for him any sooner than they did— he probably wouldn't have wanted to leave. Wouldn't have left on his own if he had the option. The timing couldn't have been more perfect— destiny must have had a hand in that as well. But hearing that Elle helped someone else, keeping them under the Company's radar— that makes him smile faintly again, some of the guilt soothing away. That she didn't just try to help him makes her actions even more genuine in his eyes.

Whatever happened in the months between the sadistic daily zapping and the return with Vitamin B supplements instead of Haitian Pills certainly changed the blonde operative.

The world is in danger again. And Hiro thought he could help. Sylar is alive and loose, going after his niece. That may not be the only threat, but it's bad enough.

But how dangerous is he?

Would she accept a fifteen?

"Don't know what Hiro and Nathan told you…" he says, glancing down towards the espresso that he's not been drinking on. Getting cold, but he can't really bring himself to drink it right now. "I'm the one they were saving the world from."

Shifting his eyes towards his hands, which turn palm up. They're normal hands, really, not large, not overly calloused by years of work. And definitely not glowing.

"There was a painting— painting of the future— of a nuclear explosion in the city. It was me. I almost wiped out half of the city. Would have, if weren't for Nathan. He flew me away— above the city."

"Oh, well. Good," Elena says, finding it in herself to quip. "I'd hate it if we went all that way just for you to ask us what velocity a swallow travels in." She can't help it, that's just the way she was. The world could be right smack dab in the middle of this so-called impending apocalypse and she'll still find something to be a smartass about. She takes another sip of her coffee, and exhales a sigh. This was the first moment she's had time to breathe all day.

She didn't know how she would react to a fifteen, but if it was the Truth, she'll take it. She could only do so much digging to risk herself, and by proxy, her father. The fact that Peter was speaking so openly about this was relieving. She didn't think she could handle anymore shadowy looks and withholding of precious information she could use to stay intact.

When he tells her about the bomb, she stares at him. Yeah, that part? They left out. She was getting pissed again, having been suckered into something that was even more dangerous than she thought. But after everything, did she really have room to talk? Big picture-wise it didn't matter, if the paintings came true, they were all screwed either way. "They didn't tell me about that," she tells him honestly. "But I remember seeing it. From campus. I thought it was some sort of rare astronomical event, the sorts that don't happen for millions and millions of years. But the papers had nothing on it, other than the fact that it was mysterious. But Hiro did say something about a bomb and that you helped stop it. I wasn't…you know. Informed of the fact that YOU were the bomb. Did it get strapped onto you or something? But…..if you blew up….how did you survive? How did your BROTHER survive?"

She looks at him, an expression of perfect seriousness on her face. "Is that what …you know. You do?" Do as in, abilities-do. "Blow up and somehow be immune from harm? Does your brother have the same immunity? I've been studying this all semester, we have a class on Theoretical Genetics and Dr. Suresh's work is covered in it. It's….what we do isn't just genetic. It's hereditary. Passed on from parents to offspring."

So many very good questions and comments. Though the smart-ass does gain a hint of a smirk when he glances up, Peter's expression returns to a more serious one almost immediately afterwards. Serious and withdrawn. He can't help but feel even more guilty by the minute. How many people got swept up into this because of who he is? That she hadn't been told doesn't surprise him so much as— well—

In order to answer any of those questions she asked, though, he has to start with something pretty basic, and something he's not sure he can explain properly. Even if he's known /what/ he does for months, it doesn't mean he understands completely how it works. Mohinder Suresh could explain it better. "It's not— like that really. I sort of absorb the abilities of others. There was another guy— Ted. His ability made him a nuclear bomb. I was— trying to stop the bomb, trying to help— went to meet him thinking it might be him, to get him out of the city." He'd meant well, really he had, and he'd known he might not control it. Contingency plan involved giving a gun to a sixteen year old girl. "Meeting him made it so I could do what he could."

Looking down at his hands, as if to make sure just talking about it doesn't bring up the glow, he continues in a rasped voice, "Could barely control it. And then— a lot of other things happened. Thought the bomb wasn't me— when Sylar killed Ted and stole his ability. I thought it might be Sylar— went to try and stop him, but— fighting him— I lost control."

A pause to breathe, then he continues, "Couldn't do anything. Took everything in me to try and hold it back, give them time to stop me. Told Hiro to kill me, but— He couldn't." No reason to explain why. He doesn't know exactly what happened to Hiro when Sylar used what he thought was the man's last breaths to shove him away. "No one could. But Nathan— he has the ability to fly and— he flew me above the city. Made him drop me. Don't know how he survived— it knocked him out. I recovered in time to catch him— get him to the hospital. But he was so badly burned and— I couldn't stay there. Couldn't risk losing control of it again. That's when they found me— said they were working on a cure— that they could help me. Make it so I never hurt anyone again."

With that he stops, looking so horribly sad that the fact his eyes are relatively dry might be a surprise.

And she thought -she- had problems.

But if he could absorb everyone else's powers? No wonder they wanted to keep him locked up. If he breathes the same air as the radioactive man Ted, he could absorb it. And he doesn't even have to know it's another one of them either. From what he's describing, he could with just meeting them. Elena's eyes are on him even as he continues, millions of questions swirling in her head about his abilities. Whether he overloads. Being able to absorb in that magnitude can't be healthy. No wonder he wanted to be checked in, his reasons were completely legitimate on the -personal- side of things, let alone the entire "I almost blew up New York" thing.

"So even as we sit here," she says finally. "You can now do what I can do." She has to warn him, even if she doesn't know the extent of her own abilities yet. But they can get to that later. He had a story to tell, and she wants to listen, eager to listen, because for once in this ridiculous set of circumstances she actually found someone willing to talk. So she props her chin on one hand, watching him as he continues on, going back to the time in where he felt the most dangerous. She couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Peter on an evolutionary scale was….off the charts. In the more human side of things, it had to be rough. The man used to be a nurse, for god's sake. He took care of people and he almost killed them. Part of her could relate - she never wanted to hurt anybody, but she was born with the power to do so by just willing it to happen. Life wasn't just a mystery, it was also pretty damned ironic.

"Mr. Petrelli…" she says hesitantly. That face. He looked so sad. She couldn't help it. "It's really not your fault you were born with your crazy sponge power. I mean, it was already decided for you. And this isn't exactly the sort of thing scientists have studied for years and years and years. A billion years since we found out we could walk with just two legs and we haven't even found the missing link yet. It's…pretty ballsy of you though, handing yourself over to them so they could try and cure you. To tell you the truth I wouldn't blame you. I probably would've done the same thing."

She falls silent, and she ventures forward. "I'll let you know about my own abilities later, because you need to hear it if just meeting someone automatically means you absorb their abilities. But would you mind telling me….why you wanted to break out now? Did something change?"

Has he absorbed her ability, whatever it might happen to be. "Maybe," is really the only answer Peter can think of. "Probably." Whatever it happens to be. He'd met Claire briefly in a hallway, twice, and got her ability. Met Sylar for less time and got his. Ted he barely even glanced at before he started glowing. Whatever it is— he could have swore something happened while he'd been touching her hand, but he's not sure what that had been.

"Destiny. Not always what you want it to be," the former nurse repeats some of what he'd tried to tell her earlier. So many people got caught up in this, and they might have died. They could have been captured and imprisoned, or— who knows what else they would have done with them. Elle seemed to think they'd only hold the really dangerous ones. What if that girl, Jane, was dangerous? Hiro might be held. Nathan— they haven't heard from him yet.

"You can call me Peter," he adds, in response to the use of the whole Mister part. Nurses don't tend to get referred to by their last names too often. Ballsy or not, he doesn't seem to think so now. If he'd not been there, they wouldn't have risked their lives to break him out. If he'd broken out when he realized he had his abilities back— if he'd—

"Elle. She told me that— I was a prisoner. That I didn't need to be there. That I could— that it was my powers that were dangerous— not me. She believed I could control it." His faith in himself might be shaky, but from the sound of things, that's what he needed to hear the most. That someone believed in him.

"Probably?" Elena rubs the back of her neck and laughs, though it sounds a little strained. "Yeaaaah. If that's the case I'm going to have to give you a crash course. But you're in luck, really. I know you seem to be a little apprehensive about the entire lack of control part, but the beauty about what I have is that it's not automatic. You have to really will it to happen. Consciously. It doesn't just run away from you." She falls silent, crossing her arms over her chest and glances at the nearby wall. "I was held hostage a couple of weeks ago," she confides. "By another Company escapee. She wielded fire. Her name was Kellie. But even while under stress and I thought I was going to be fried on the spot, my abilities didn't lash out instinctively to protect me. I have to direct it. I'm hoping it'll be the same for you." Otherwise it could really hurt a lot of people.

The invitation to be informal catches her a little offguard, but she smiles at him cheerfully after. "Okay, Peter," she says easily enough - she wasn't about to defy the guy when he's being so upfront.

Several moments of awkward silence follow. She's trying not to stare, she still can't believe this is happening. She keeps expecting to wake up at the sound of her alarm clock at home. But she's wide awake, and the taste of coffee is bitter in her mouth. But as she listens….was Elle right? Were they really all just prisoners? "I'm sorry I can't tell you more about the others," she offers. "Truth be told….we're anxious for word, too. All of us are trying to do our thing, trying to find out what we can. We only meet up when we really have to. Sticking us all in one place just spells trouble. They're probably looking for us now. And they won't be treating us kindly."

At the last, she nods. "You can," she says. "All of us can. The switch is here." She taps her temple. "It's just that every person's mental 'trigger' is different. You just have to find yours is all." She pauses, and she laughs. "Though yours might be a little more complicated. I don't know how many abilities you've absorbed but you might need a different one for each. If I wasn't so scared about everything, I'd be excited. You know. Scientifically." She hesitates, and then she continues. "The human brain is capable of a lot of miracles, Peter. Have you ever heard of the guy who got punched through the head by a steel rod? It was an industrial accident, it's a famous medical case - you'd think he would die, but he lived until he was old and he died with the thing still in his cranium. So I think…if a guy can live his entire life with a steel rod through the brain, you can adapt to what you have if you let yourself."

She falls quiet at last, and glances down at her cup. "It is scary," she confesses quietly. "What's going on right now. I'm only eighteen. I don't know if I can handle it all. But I have to. I have a family. If New York's about to be destroyed, I need to think of them. That's why….this." She gestures vaguely to the side.

"….hey," she says. "…did you know him personally? Isaac Mendez? Did….all of his paintings except one really come true?"

What she explains about whatever it is she does earns some relief from him, because really— how could he possibly want to hurt anyone? That's the last thing Peter's ever wanted. It's her cheerful smile, plus the relief, that begins to break through his guilt ridden self-blame, chipping away at it and even making his lip twitch back towards the smile that she inspired earlier in the evening. With her talking science at him, he starts to nod again, watching her face as she offers up hope of adaption and control. A man surviving with a metal rod in his head certainly sounds unbelievable. He couldn't even survive with a piece of glass. Of course, it might not have been a problem if it'd been lodged anywhere else.

What she says about New York being destroyed though— that makes him sit up more, turning in her direction. His arms lean against the table and he frowns faintly, lips tightening. It's when she mentions Isaac Mendez that he blinks and looks away again. Yes… he knows Isaac. "I met him a couple times, yeah. I guess— he painted the bomb more than once— devistation afterwards, a lot of things. When Nathan stopped me from blowing up in Kirby Plaza— it changed those paintings. But— yeah. Most of what he painted came true."

All but the bomb. That's something he doesn't quite understand, but it did change. Even if most of the others came true. "Is he still painting New York getting destroyed?"

He doesn't know Isaac had been murdered by Sylar. No one really saw fit to tell him, and he'd been kind of occupied trying not to blow up, and then sulking in his cell, to find out on his own.

"….well….crap," Elena sighs. "I was hoping it was some sort of fluke." She glances to the wall again, and then, she lets out a small laugh. "After everything I've seen and heard some things still….I don't know. War on my natural predisposition to be skeptical. I mean, paint the future?" She looks over at him with a funny quirk to her smile, but given that Peter just confirmed that Isaac Mendez was, indeed, some sort of Picasso Nostradamus, she sighs, and pushes her coffee away. "Alright. I haven't actually seen these works of art, but I know someone who made digital copies of them."

She looks over at him and takes a breath. There is hesitation to her expression. She looks like she's about to say something, but she shakes her head. "You know, I kind of hate to do this to you," she confesses. "You -just- got out. I mean….I'd think after everything you've been through, you'd want to breathe a little bit. But if you really want to know…."

But he straightens up and focuses his dark eyes upon her. Slowly, she continues.

"There's a new series of paintings by Mendez discovered," she says slowly. "They were stolen. We….my group…the Pack… apparently we had them in our custody, but I didn't know this after the fact. I just knew they existed. And then they were stolen back from us. I don't know how. This woman apparently had them but then she turned on us. But these series of paintings….apparently a tornado, of all things, is going to hit New York. The city will be devastated. And right after….some sort of viral outbreak will happen, killing hundreds."

She pauses and when his question hits her, she stares at him. "….no one told you?" she asks quietly. "Isaac Mendez is dead. Hiro told me he was killed. By Sylar."

Sylar killed Isaac Mendez. He doesn't even ask if it had been before or after the explosion above New York. Peter has no idea, and doesn't really need to know. In fact, he has every reason to think it could be either. Whether he had been close to the man or not doesn't much matter. His eyes close and he lowers his head for a moment, fingers tightening into a fist. Isaac is dead, and new dangers threaten the city, and possibly the world, just as he happened to get out of the Company's hold. Maybe this time he won't be the menace, and he'll actually be able to do something about it. That's about the only thing for sure that he can hope for.

Inhaling slowly, breath shaking, he reaches up to rub at his face with one hand, not really rubbing away tears, but trying to regain his composure. "I'll need to be able to contact you," he finally says, not really sure how much else he can hear right now. As he stands up, he scans the room for a piece of paper and pencil, which isn't too difficult to find, really. Grabbing them, he pulls something out of his pocket, a rather cheap looking throw-away prepaid cellphone. Just bought, no less. The number isn't locked in his memory just yet, so he writes it down and tears that off. "This is my number. We— need to set up a time and place to meet. I'm going to talk to need to talk to Elle and— try and contact my mother. Tell your friends to be careful. Not just of the Company, but also Sylar. I ran into him an hour after I escaped. He should be injured, but— that doesn't mean he's harmless."

There's so many questions he would like to ask, but he needs to regroup mentally at this point, as well as catch up with Elle, figure out what's going on. "If you can give me a number to contact you at, that'd be great, but I understand if you'd rather not. If that number doesn't work— I might have had to toss the cellphone, but I can stop by here to find you again, in that case." The guilt and sadness has morphed into a strange form of determination. "We'll get your friends, Hiro and my brother out of there and— figure out some way of stopping the tornado and the virus."

How odd. The first book he got to read in months happened to be The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

"I'm sorry if he was your friend," Elena says, looking a little fearful about having offended him. "I really didn't want to tell you all this just when you'd been freed, but you asked and….you were so straightforward about everything else. I couldn't lie, or even hold the excuse of omission or anything like that. And we already got screwed so many times by people not talking to each other. I don't want to make that mistake. I'm -hoping- I'm not making a mistake." She falls silent, watching him rub his face and feeling jittery. What was he going to do? Was he going to leave the city? But his brother was in there….he mentioned his relationship with Nathan was complicated, but…

Then he asks for her contact information. She hesitates. She still had doubts. Finally, she decides to take the risk and go with her gut. She pulls out her phone - cherry red, and distinct with the cartoon ninja on the display. Like his, it's a throw-away pay-by-the-minute phone….it's just that she bought the same kind with a different number after she programmed all the other important numbers on the new phone and chucked the old one into the sea. And she got quite attached to the ninja. "Here's my number," she says, and she'll dictate it to him while he programs it on her phone. She takes the slip of paper he hands her, and does the same thing. "And yeah, we do." When he mentions Sylar escaped? She turns a little gray. "…what…?" she croaks. "You mean he's running free…?"

Her fingers feel nerveless all of a sudden.

She nods. "We will," she says simply. "Keep in touch. And you lay low too. And Elle. Compared to you, we're pretty small targets in comparison."

"It's okay. I'm glad you told me. He wasn't exactly a friend, but— it's good to know," Peter says, even if it's not really /good/ to know. Even if Isaac had betrayed him, tried to shoot him, and accidently shot Simone instead… It is still sad, and the memories it brings up painful. And the idea of Sylar with a paintbrush that tells him the future… that's definitely something he doesn't want to think about. Some powers would be worse for him to have, but that's still pretty bad. "I'm glad you told me about the paintings, too." It gives him something to hope he can stop, a goal to achieve to make up for the pain he caused…

"And Sylar's free, yeah— we went to my family home to try and regroup, find out what happened and— he was there, trying to kill a member of my family." One he doesn't really want to point fingers at, because she's not offically one of his family. For all he knows his brother might still be hiding his daughter— or maybe he's not, if she was staying at the house with his grandma. There's a lot he needs to find out, so that's a secret he's not going to reveal yet.

With the numbers exchanged, he puts his phone away and grabs his now cool espresso. And it is probably still better than the coffee at the hotel. "We'll be careful. And I'll contact you soon— see if you can find any of the others that were missing, that friend of yours. According to Elle they tend to release most of them— unless they're dangerous." Like him.

"It was nice to meet you, Elena." And with that, he starts to move towards the door he came, obviously intent on leaving.

She nods, watching him as he gets up to go. With all of that pouring out, Elena was at least passing on the information to someone experienced in saving the world. After all, Peter had done this before, right? He's faced the Company before. He's been on the inside. He knows how they work, and he's with someone who knows how they work. He has more in his arsenal now. But she can understand his need to regroup - it wasn't as if she got to work as soon as she heard the world was about to go wooosh. She went to school. She went to work. She tried to maintain a life outside of this craziness.

And now she feels a little relieved. The holes had been filled as far as Peter was concerned. The pressing concern now was Hiro, and Jane, and Nathan missing. But Peter said they tended to be released unless they were dangerous. Jane wasn't dangerous - as long as she wasn't surrounded by breakable objects. "I'll get on it when I can," she says, standing up as he prepares to leave.

She looks determined, a grim line on her lips. "You too, Peter. Watch your back."

When he leaves, she watches him go for a long moment, and then she moves for the door herself. Now was the time to really close up….and the first thing she'll do when she gets home is Google pictures of the old Petrelli campaign trail to put a name to the face. And she won't be disappointed.

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