2007-09-28: The Wrong Tense


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Summary: Concerned about his paintings, Peter and Elena meet up with one of the few people in the Company he mostly trusts, and finds out that his painting of the future hadn't been very far in the future at all.

Date It Happened: September 28th, 2007

The Wrong Tense


The meeting time was set for 6 PM. Noah is there at 5. While trust is something Noah is willing to give Peter, there are far too many 'what if's to just assume this will go well. After all, with a multitude of dangerous Evolved on the loose, there are a great many things that could go wrong.

Glancing at his watch, Noah stands on the rooftop with a brow wrinkled with frustration. He paces a few steps here and there as he glances about before he finally pulls back his grey suit jacket to rest his hands on his hips. Mr. Bennet is NOT in his happy place.

With the additional time between phone call and actual meeting, Peter's had time to actually clean up— which is important. Though it had been at his girlfriend's behest more than anything else, probably. Showered— shaved, the remnants of paint washed away, he's also taken this time to emotionally calm down, so he's not quite as desperate as he otherwise would have been if it'd been an afternoon meeting. Still, when they move up to the roof access, invisible, they too are early, but only by half an hour. It's not lack of trust on their part, though, and far more dealing with… need to do something. Hurry up so that they can wait.

When the door opens, they fade into visibility, his hand still holding onto the younger woman. A carrier bag hangs over his shoulder, with two tubes sticking out in a rather curious fashion. There's someone else on the roof already. "Mr. Bennet?" He'd said he was probably bringing someone, so the presense of a third party won't be much of a surprise— though who the third person is may be.

When the invisibility drops, Elena nods to Mr. Bennet in greeting - Peter did mention that he was bringing someone, but she doesn't intend to talk much during this. Sliding her fingers away from Peter's, they slide into her pockets. She'll let the younger Petrelli brother move on to speak with his niece's adoptive father, but she'll linger a little bit behind, and provide extra eyes and ears as a lookout. She looks tired, granted, but alert and more than just a little bit tense. After all, this is pretty urgent, and she's not familiar with Noah…who probably knows about her father. She's still trying to come into grips with that, after keeping Ramon's telepathy under wraps from the Company for several months since she first realized they existed.

And there he comes, the man of the hour… Peter Petrelli. The Company Man turning around to see the couple arrival, his nicely polished shoes grinding gravel under his feet from the slow motion. Brown eyes glance at the hand holding from behind browline glasses. His attention swiftly goes to Peter, his tone clearly concerned as his hands drop to his sides. "Mr. Petrelli. You wanted to talk," he states simply, Elena only getting a brief nod of the head.

Normally, people would introduce each other before things get down to business. Peter hesitates for a moment, glancing back at the young woman with him, and then at the older man. He's honestly confused how to handle introductions and other such things… so he ends up skipping them. Letting go of her hand, he pulls out the two tubes and holds them out to the Company Man. "I painted these last night— I don't even remember doing them. I don't know if they're even related but…" he trails off.

There's two paintings, once they're all unrolled and looked at. On depicting a fire, inside a building, with shadowed people within, or behind it. And the second a familiar blonde (Elle, not Claire) with her head sliced open and a shadowed figure looming over her.

It's okay, Peter, if Noah feels the need to get a name, he'll ask. The man in the stylish suit takes the tubes, unrolling them and studying them. Roughly two minutes go by, the only movement shown from Noah is his eyes that search over the work, his hands when he switches from picture to picture… and his tie as it flaps in the autumn wind from time to time. Then without a word, he rolls them back up to hand them toward Peter. "Any more pictures, or were these it?"

"That was it," Peter says, putting the paintings back into their protective tubes, but there's still an anxiety around him. "I had to warn someone and I… I don't think that Mr. Bishop would appreciate a visit from me, even if it's something this important." One of the last times he saw the man, he thought about shooting him in the head for quite some time— It wasn't fun for him— and he'd rather it not happen again. "In the future— one of the abilities Sylar had was electricity…"

The Man with the Horn-Rimmed Glasses glances out to the rooftops of New York. Somewhere out there… Sylar is there. Finally deciding on something, Noah says a minor correction that makes a world of difference as he looks toward Peter. "Wrong tense."

Well, to him the future is the past, so the tense works in his mind, but… Peter doesn't really understand when the correction is made. "Will have? Sorry— I… it's the past for me, I guess and…" That's the way he's taking the tense correction, because otherwise he'd probably not be handling it quite as well— he wants it to just be that.

Noah takes off his glasses, rubbing them clean of the light dust film that's on them. If Peter or Elena take a good look at his eyes, they would notice that they have small red veins creeping about. That's what happens when you wake up at 2 AM hear the lovely sound of shit hitting the fan.

At Peter's lack of understanding, Noah fills in the blanks. "Both pictures have already happened, but from what I can gather, Elle may still be alive. If you want more on that, I'll need some promises from you." The last statement ends with Noah putting his glasses on, seemingly more concerned and perhaps annoyed than angry or upset.

For the first moment, Peter just hears that the paintings have already happened. The tubes slip out of his hands and drop to the roof. Luckily, there's more words that follow— the important piece really. Elle may still be alive. The painting showed her in a position that would pretty much kill anyone, so if it's happened he… "I don't understand… what== but this…" His 'future' painting must have been pretty close future, from the look of things. He shifts backwards a step, as if moving away from Noah, but really he's moving closer to the young woman with him, seeking some physical comfort. It's already happened. "What promises?" he finally asks, voice stunned, weakened. May still be alive doesn't mean actually is—

The paintings are dropped. For the first time in a bit, Elena actually moves. She reaches out to pick up the rolls on the ground, and stands up to cradle them to her. She'll slip them in the carrier bag later, but when Noah says he would like some promises, she nods her acquiescence. She glances over at Peter. "The angle of the painting…you only painted most of her face, but not all of it. The angle could mean the top of her head could've been removed….but it might've been prevented too, by something. If Mr. Bennet thinks she can still be alive, I don't think he'd say that if they found something." Like a body. She's still a little curious about the fire though. So they were connected? She waits for Noah to specify what sort of promises they'll be making.

The pictures are all but forgotten in Noah's eyes. Information is only useful if it has something in it you don't already know. Gomez gets a look from Noah, showing that he is unamused with her for the time being. "That you will be more responsible with the information that I give you. While I am honestly grateful for what you've done for the world and Claire… It does NOT give you a free license to do what ever you please." As Peter takes a step back, Noah takes a step forward. His tone still has the same concern, even as the subject of the conversation switches. "Tell me, Peter, how many people have you told about the Company? About Sylar?" It's clear that he assumes Elena already knows… Or he wouldn't bring it up in her presence.

"Almost everyone I've talked to about the Company already knew about it," Peter says weakly, shaking his head a little. There's really only a very few people he told about them that didn't already know. One had been mindwiped by them, and that's why he told them, and the other… well… she'd been under direct threat. And he didn't tell her much other than that there was a group of people who might take drastic measures to stop her. "And Sylar's different. He was in the news— he's a wanted murderer. And I don't see any reason I shouldn't warn the people he'd be after." Even then— the amount of people he told were pretty limited in scope, in comparison to what people might think.

What she said wasn't meant to be amusing in any way. At the look tossed at her, Elena's face is expressionless. But save for what she had said to try and calm Peter down before he went insane over the idea that his ex-girlfriend might've been murdered, she doesn't interject anything else. Noah after all was directing his questions to Peter, it's his answers that he's mostly interested in - and she knows the less she talks, the better it is for her.

"'Almost' is a tricky word," Noah begins as he walks to the edge of the roof. He seems to focus on one area on particular; the Kirby offices that loom in the distance. "Almost catching Sylar is just as bad as not catching him at all… Sometimes even worse. Keeping a secret is an all or nothing thing, Peter. And so far, you let me down. After all, if they tell 'almost' no one, and they tell 'almost' no one… Where would the Company be? Where would you be when the trace the leak right down to you and your friends? Because if you keep this up, it's not a matter of if. Merely when."

The Company Man moves toward Peter, moving to roughly a foot or so away from him. His tone is level, talking as if he were giving a lecture to Lyle about setting off fireworks too close to the house or Claire about dating lame boyfriends. "As for Sylar… Did you ever think that telling them about Sylar will do absolutely nothing for them? While it might do something to help them, in the end it will either do two things. Cause fear in some or in the rare case you tell the wrong person… Inspire. Do you understand what I am saying, Peter?"

Elena is silent and therefore ignored by HRG. This is likely a good thing right about now.

"I'm not— " Peter starts, but his attempt to argue gets cut off, and he actually turns away for a moment, touching his forehead with his hand, pushing the curled under lock out of the way. Now he is retreating, and from the tension mounting along his forehead, he's actually getting rather angry and frustrated by this. "Maybe if your Company would have actually killed him I wouldn't have to warn people about it. I only warn them because I don't have any other options. I can't find him, I can't stop him by myself. If I don't tell anyone about him…" He hadn't come here to get lectured, again, or told that he's doing everything wrong, again. Critism isn't something he likes, especially when he's prone to blaming himself for everything anyway. Hiro'd told more people about the Company than he ever did. Hell, he didn't even think the Company was that bad until he realized what they'd done to Elle and Claire…

The Company Man is silent for a long time. He waits for Peter to seemingly collect himself. If he wanted to tear apart Peter verbally, there are far easier subjects to bring out. "When I am trying to help you, blaming me for Sylar is NOT going to get you anywhere." Noah pauses, taking the time to stretch his neck a bit. His patience is being tested as his tone gets rather terse, but thankfully, he is able to hold the line. Copy Kingdom showed him the exact limit of his self-control, and he isn't there yet. Pete's gunna have to EARN the Bennet rage.

"Fine," Peter finally says, rubbing his hands over his face in frustration. He wants to defend his actions, but he really can't right now, not after getting his confidence battered when he made a decision earlier in the day. The wrong one. Which means he'd made more wrong ones in the past and this would be included, it would seem. The hand drops and he turns back around, still looking emotionally distraught, but also withdrawling a little at the same time, throwing up some stubborn walls. Doesn't like what he's hearing, but… "What happened to Elle?"

And the fire. But once again Elena doesn't say anything - she's a little puzzled as to how Noah knows the fire happened already too. Did all the pictures happen in the same area? She didn't know for sure. Sliding her hands in her pockets, she glances to the side, distracted a moment by the sounds of the city…this doesn't last long however. While she lets the two men talk, she uses this opportunity to stow the painting rolls back into the carrier bag.

"We are still figuring that out," Noah states in regards to Elle, using a finger to push back his glasses. "While I can't say anything more, Sylar worked with another Evolved in an attack against the Company. Right now, tensions are high there, so remember what I said earlier and keep your head LOW… Unless you want to risk getting on the Company's bad side. Some of them are triggerhappy enough as it is," Noah states as he moves toward the door. It looks like this conversation is nearing the end. Or he thinks so anyway.

The conversation is over? It didn't get Peter what he needed, though— not at all. Laying low is not exactly an option. May be alive— but he can't say anything more. They are still trying to figure it out. He dated her for months and he can't even find out if she's actually alive— it's very frustrating. But most importantly… "What am I supposed to do, Noah?" he asks, eyes following the other man as he starts to leave. "I can't just hide and wait for things to happen. I have to do something. I contacted you because— I hoped you'd tell me what to do…"

What? Elena furrows her brows. That doesn't make any sense. Sylar has his powers back…why would he attack the Company? And with an -accomplice-? Didn't he work alone? She glances over at Peter at what he says, and then towards Noah. Her hands jam into her pockets, somewhere to the side and behind the younger Petrelli.
~Ask him why Sylar attacked the Company. I thought he worked alone and he got his powers back? What could he possibly want going back there?~ The telepathic message is directed to Peter hoping he'll hear it.

For most people, Noah would give a quick quip along the lines of 'Don't be stupid', but this is the man that saved his daughter's life. Noah turns toward Peter, his gaze softening just a bit. "Right now, I know you want to do something. But this is a sensitive time. We need to figure out why they did this before we can know what to do. If you get any leads, be sure to let me know… I already have my hunches." Is he going to share them? Hell no.

"The fire— There were other paintings with a fire before," Peter says, looking toward Elena for a moment, a hint of a twitch to his eyebrows as if he's got a headache— or heard someone's thoughts— "And I know there was a woman who used fire." She'd been featured in one of the paintings he'd seen, actually, but he heard of her beyond that as well— never met her, but he's heard of her. There's a long pause, before he finally rubs his hands over his face again. "I'll lay low for a while, but if I have to do something, I will." He just doesn't know what that is yet… "Can you… ask Elle to contact me or something?"
Kellie. It's been so long since she thought of her. So when Peter brings her up, Elena's eyes widen in both realization and recognition, gaping at Peter, and then she looks over at Noah. Back to the painting, her gaze goes. She didn't even make the connection - it had been so long ago, back in February. Then again, she's never seen the other Mendez paintings, just the ones that Peter had made.

Noah frowns as he notices Peter's twitch, but seemingly doesn't do more than that. "That would have been Sylar's partner in crime. She's likely stick with Sylar for now." He doesn't meantion the people on Level 5, but with what Benji got from Ramon, Noah feels the rest of the inmates are need to know. "If you see anything unusual or see any other Evolved that you might think have allied with Sylar, let me know. I want this nipped in the bud NOW." He opens the door, shaking his head faintly at Peter's question. With a tired smile, Noah nods. "If I see Elle, I'll be sure to pass the message along. Is there anything else I can do for you before I go? I've got another long night ahead of me."

There's a long pause, as if Peter's considering sharing something, but after a glance between the two people, he shakes his head and says, "All right— I'll let you know if I see anyone working with him." There's a hint of something, as if he might know something, but has decided not to share it at this point. He did want him to be quiet about things, right? "I'm sorry my paintings didn't give an early warning…" And he'll hope that Elle really is okay, because otherwise…

She waits quietly for the conversation to end, Elena keeping her hands in her pockets and watching them both. She doesn't say anything more, leaning against the cold wall behind her and diverting her gaze a little bit to the side when she hears a sudden car alarm going off somewhere up the street. But like Peter, she says nothing else - Noah said he's got his hunches, he probably already knows what the Haitian had told her several months back.

"You're doing the best you can… If you can't be content with that, you'll drive yourself mad. And none of us here want that," Noah states. His 'fatherly' advice given, Noah adjusts his tie that's been flapping in the wind previously. "I'll see you around, Peter. Nice meeting you, Ms. Gomez." She wasn't introduced, was she? Noooope, but as Elena knows, she had some run-ins with the Company already. Either way, Noah turns down to go down the stairs, ending yet another high string meeting this week. At least he can take solace that if he gets two more, his fifth one is free.

He knows who she is.

"Wait!" The word is out before Elena can stop herself, pushing herself off the wall and a hand moving to reach out as if she could stop him physically, but HRG moves fast, with the door opening and shoes moving down the stairs. So she stops, chewing on her bottom lip. She doesn't pursue, her body tightening a bit with indecision. Finally…she forces herself to relax, exhaling a breath and rubbing the side of her face. Well. That went well.

No direction. No instruction. Peter still has no idea what he's supposed to do— but at least… doing the best he can. There's a flinch when he calls her by her name, but he doesn't chase after him, doesn't try to stop him, instead goes over to her, touching her arm and looking down at her. "It'll be all right…" They'd already had an idea that the Company knew about her. Elle knew about her. After they broke up he has no reason to believe she kept everything secret. And the bookstore was bugged. Not much of a comfort. "Let's go home— you have classes tomorrow…" And it's been a very, very long day…

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