2007-10-05: Tumbling Down


Mandy_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter sketches something that tells him when and where one of the escapees will be, and he decides to go handle it on his own. This scene starts with the definition of good guys being complete idiots. Peter pays the price quite a bit. But luckily his big brother shows up to save him.


Date It Happened: October 5th, 2007

Tumbling Down

Construction Site — Bronx

The sun's setting. This construction site has seen no major attention for months now. It's near the edge of the Bronx. There's a sign, depicting the location of the site, and what it's intended to be. A factory of some kind, but the project is on standby. Only part of the building frame is up, some of the walls, the ceiling— the pavement hasn't been laid in the parking lot, gravel laid out instead. Some unattended machinery is parked near the edge, a bulldozer and a lift crane, and a truck. It's the hood of the truck that someone's sitting on.

Peter Petrelli is invisible as the darkness sets in. He hasn't moved much in the last hour— the sketch had been in color— colored pencils, depicting sunset, and the sign. The lettering on the sign had been clear. It's not a painting, but it works just as well. Even better, really— faces have tended to be more accurate in his sketches.

It's the face that brought him here. Turned face on, a close-up shot, she blocks most of the construction site itself, leaving just enough information to find her. The sign. The sunset. He's not sure if it's tonight, or tomorrow— or next week— sunset and location are the keys— and if she doesn't appear soon, he might decide it's another night.

The sketch isn't in hand, but sits on the hood of the truck nearby, and there's a phone in his hand.

He should call for back up. He should call Noah, or Elena— or someone. He knows this. He can't do this alone. He's got an image ready to send to someone— followed by a text. Only once he knows for sure that this is the time, and this is the place.


People aren't Mandy's only targets. Things - important things - those also fall onto her radar. Little blips in an otherwise busy city. She likes it here in New York. It's changed so much in the years she's been in captivity, but at the same time, it's exactly the same. Maybe it's time to turn that upside-down.

She's smart, she does her research, she knows how to access the records on properties and plats, finding what belongs to whom, including the fact that this abandoned site was very recntly purchased by a company with little money, and the need to make use of this framework of a building. Why not destroy it? Sure, it was a random find, but one find is as good as another. As the sun sets, she steps out of a cab, leaving the driver surprisingly still alive and undamaged. The cool air toussles her hair, and Mandy pulls it back, boots grinding against the gravel underfoot.

Touching a fence, she melts through it. The steel buckles, falls, there's a loud crash as the weight carries more of the chainlink with it. The factory isn't that tall yet, she realises as she looks up at it. Probably better that way. It means she'll be able to get out of the way if she makes a mistake and the whole thing comes crashing down on top of her. Her gaze shifts, down into the hole that will be the building's foundation and basement. There's no cement work yet - just a chasm made of dirt and clay. She can work with this, she thinks, as she finds a foothold and climbs down into it, down a worn ramp created for the construction workers.


The crashing of the lock draws his attention and Peter looks towards the fence. There's a deep breath. That's her. That's a face he could never forget, and a visible use of power that he'll never forget. He had no idea why she would choose to be in this place— no thought to her intent, and part of him is very glad that she's not carrying dead bodies, or something worse. Still— there's a hesitation, before he sends the image. Phone-to-phone. Brother-to-brother. It'll take Nathan some time to figure out what the image is— he'll have to look it up on the internet to find the location. It gives him some time on his own to try and be a hero— but at least he can say he told someone.

A single text message is sent: I'll be okay.

Then he turns off his phone, and sets it down on top of the sketchbook before sliding off the hood of the truck. Not as loud as her entrance, but not completely stealthy, either. She's going down into the basement…

Leaving his things behind, he starts after her, still invisible, the gravel crunching under his feet. When he reaches the ramp, he looks down, his hand rests on the doorframe, and he looks down it. There's no major sound, yet— he's hesitant to attack her— especially when she's not actually hurting anyone right now.


Huge steel pillars jut upward into the air. They look so much bigger from down here, Mandy thinks to herself as she approaches one. They're firmly cemented into the ground amid a framework of smaller steel beams. Supportwork. Crouching down, planting her boots on the ground, she touches one of these smaller beams - no more than an inch or two in diameter - and simply pushes through the solid steel, until it falls to the dirt, popping and hissing.

Briefly, she turns her attention upward when she hears footsteps, looking through the open steel structure to see… Nothing at all. Still, her wariness and curiosity piqued, Mandy stands again, stepping around and through the support structure until she can see the ground above. No one's there.

Back to her task. Dark eyes take one more look at the ramp upward, she glares in that direction, and then she heads to one of the massive vertical supports. It's rusty already, which means it's not as strong as it could be, but in the failing light, that's hard to see. All she needs to do is weaken it, then when the building is complete in a few years, when people are using it, it will come crashing down and kill hundreds. She might not be around to see it, but it'll be well worth the effort. As she trails her hand down it, the surface hisses and bubbles, then she moves onto the next.


What is she doing? Peter silently asks himself, squinting as she uses her abilities on a pillar. It doesn't quite sink in that it might be to destabalize the building for when the construction completes— an attempt to kill innocent workers. At first he's not sure what she's even doing— because it just looks like she's reaching out and touching the support from his distance— but then he hears the creak. It's a loud sound. Metal buckling. He came here to stop this woman, to bring her to justice— maybe even to kill her, he hadn't really decided, but all that gets thrown out of the window almost immediately.

Not a killer by instinct, his first instinct is to do the exact opposite, even with a face that ruthlessly murdered someone he cared about. As the sounds start to build, she'll probably be making the move to flee, she'll feel something grab her by waist and pull her at a much faster speed towards the ramp, the doorway leading to the basement that he's still standing in, and right into something very solid, but not visible. Something that grunts and moves away.

Something that fades back into visibility as he stumbles back out of the way of the metal and walling and ceiling that threatens to fall upon them both. The rising dust and following crash might provide ample distraction.


The feeling of it is addicting. The ability to take a solid structure and dissolve it is incredibly intoxicating, almost sensual as her very skin bites through a material meant to last centuries. It doesn't hurt, except where the stalactite-like jagged edge of the metal scratches against the back of her hand. As she withdraws, she hears the creak, looks to her right, and sees the next pillar over starting to bend and break, even without her aid.

"Ah, shit," she swears, starting to back away. She should have started on a pillar farther toward the edge, but yes, she does start to flee. It won't be fast enough, though. She'll be buried under the rubble, and no one will even know she was here. Then again, who would care? The world is out to destroy her - they always have been. And while she's fully within her right to take what she wants now, it seems that her short-lived reign of terror is about to come to an end.

But here, an intervention. Suddenly finding herself wisked away and out of the building as evverything comes crashing down - imploding in on itself thanks to the simple act of weakening one pillar in the middle - dust flies, and the entire thing bends inward. Groaning, slowly folding like paper, until there's a thunderous settling of steel and brick and drywall. Somehow, she's still on the outside, alive.

The sound hurts her ears. Mandy screams involuntarily as the dust settles, the same arm that's covering her eyes is shielding on ear from the sound, as well. Flying debris slices against exposed skin. It hurts - and it also feels like she's been denied something. Her hand reaches out for Peter - the only other thing moving besides the falling structure. The hand seeks to grab his shirt - anything.


It'd not been inspected yet— the whole structure wasn't complete. The main support weakened, made things too unstable— and everything went crashing down. Luckily for her, (and unluckily for the world) a hero was nearby who had an instinct to help. The sound, the dust, the debris— all of it knocks him off his feet, landing on the ground many feet outside— further than he expected to get, but she's clinging right to his shirt. There's pain, and he can't help but groan again, the wind knocked out of him— but the pain fades, as it often does. The dust and rock settles.

As she'd been between him and the crashing, part of him knows she got it worse than he did, so his hand lifts up to touch her shoulder— warmth will follow. Not dangerous, melty warmth— but something that soothes away some of her pain.

This is why he's not cut out to be a killer. Not in the least.

"You… should be more careful… with that," he says, wanting to cough, but finally able to sit up, look at her in the growing darkness after sunset. Is he trying to bond with the evil woman?


The whole thing could have ended just then… Or, at least a third of it. Lukas and Jeremiah are still out there, but with one less to worry about, it might have made clean up for the Company a lot easier. It still hurts. She still might have ended up incapacitated and easily captured, but…

Maybe he wanted to change her. Maybe if she hadn't been caged for so long, the effect of Peter's kindness wouldn't be completely lost on the woman. Her grip on his shirt lesses as he heals her; Mandy starts to feel the pain from dozens of major and minor cuts fading away, and gives a sigh of relief. Her job might already be done - the building destroyed - but she's not.

Perhaps Peter's just changed the future. Soothed the savage beast that was one of the Company's best-kept secrets. Breathing heavily, she wraps her arms around the man who just rescued her from a brutal crushing, but… Peter will feel that wherever she touches him, his skin will start to burn like she's setting him on fire. Whispering into his ear, she says, "I'll remember that for next time."


Next time. Thanks to him, now there will be a next time. Peter's hoping to get a few words in, to talk to her, to find out why she's doing what she's doing. Maybe she's not all bad— maybe she just needed freedom. Maybe she just needs someone to talk to her— to tell her that humanity is beautiful and it doesn't need to be destroyed. One act of kindness to save the world, right? All that matters is the good that we do for each other. That's what's most important in the world.

When she hugs him, he starts to respond, "Hey, I just…" And he doesn't get much further.

The burning pain. It's somewhat similar to that of electrical scortchings, only that had been so sudden, and gone quickly. This is a lingering pain, a deep pain, and now— now he starts to move away. "Wait— wait! I'm trying to— to help you! To— you don't have to— you're free— you don't have to hurt people anymore." The places where she touched him, the skin that's burning away— it's already beginning to repair itself, to heal, the pain easily heard in his voice. As he scrambles away, or tries to, he stumbles over the gravel,


There will be many next times. He had to stick his nose in where it didn't belong, and now there's a witness, and it's her duty to eliminate it. Not that witnesses really matter, but on her mind right now, the fact that Peter saw her topple that building means everything. She could have rescued herself, could have pulled off the greatest escape in history, yet she's been denied, and it's a moment she'll never get back. Instead, she's being saved by some nosy punk with a hero complex. He ruined everything.

So he'll die, too.

The searing pain intensifies. As he falls backward, despite the fact that the minor wounds inflicted on his person are already healing, she starts to burn her hand through his chest. Mandy isn't hearing a thing the boy is saying. Intent dark eyes remain fixed on his face, relishing that expression as that feeling engulfs her - again, uplifting, reassuring that she can so easily destroy. His sternum snaps like balsawood; she pushes ribs aside until her hand reaches his heart, the rhythmic beating of it under her fingers making her smile.

"Does it hurt?" she asks, voice almost a purr. And then she squeezes, the acid going to work as she crushes the life from him.


As he falls back again, Peter can't keep saying much else at all. Not because he loses his breath or dies, but because her hand digs deeper, moves deeper, and the pain becomes too much. All the deaths he's been through have been painful, more than he could ever describe, but this— somehow— is one of the worst. Maybe because it's so slow and brutal— It's right up there with the pain when he thawed and regrew his hand.

He starts to scream. His shirt burned away, his chest opened up, he tries to fight back, lashing out with his arms to grip at the gravel. A bolt of lightning jumps from his hand during a scream, right as she reaches his heart and can feel it still beating. The bolt flies toward the bulldozer a distance away, lights it up briefly, before it fades away. The lightning continues to crackle on his finger tips, but he can't lift his hand, he can't reach out and touch her—

The electricity in his brain, powering the rest of his body, starts to die down, leaving him gasping in an attempt to find air, blood filling his lungs— and then the acid burns through his heart.

The physical representation of what forced him to reach out and save her. His heart.

And she burned it out of him, leaving a gaping hole in his chest.

No more words. No more breathing. Silence. She got what she wanted.


Meanwhile, his turned off phone receives a text from 283-3194: Let me know if you need help. OK? -Niki


It's not until that lightning jumps from his hand that Mandy truly realises the timeline of the past few moments. This boy has abilities - more than one. He pulled her from the basement telekinetically. He was invisible. He healed her. And now he's throwing lightning around, and somehow, the fact that she's killing someone with much more power than she has is exciting, glorifying. Perhaps she'll be in the papers tomorrow. Probably not, but she can picture the front page article in her mind.

The acid still shreds her clothing, but that doesn't matter to the murderer, not right now. She can feel him dying, and she's relishing every moment, every slowed thump of the heart in his chest, until she burns it away to nothing.

There's blood everywhere. Mandy doesn't notice. When she stands, blood is dripping from her fingertips. She doesn't care. In fact, she just shakes it off like she'd shake water, before crouching down to ever-so-tenderly trail a finger down his cheek. Peter was good for her, though not in the way most women would understand. She enjoyed it, and she's reluctant to leave. Her breathing evens out as she smiles gently. "I think I might actually miss you," she says, her other hand reaching for his pocket to find a wallet or something. Mandy wants to know her fellow's name.


There's some remnant twitching on his fingers, where the lightning danced off. Peter's dead, though. The breathing has stopped, the beating of his heart has been silenced. And she digs out a wallet from his pocket. There's a driver's liscence, showing a slightly longer haired young man, smiling lopsided. Petrelli, Peter. An address, apartment number and all, is listed under that, folowed by date of birth (12-23-79), gender, eyes, height (5'9"). He's even listed as an organ donor— how sweet.

Before she can do much more looking through his wallet, though (there's pictures, contact information and other things there, there's a sudden sound from nearby. A gasp for breath. A sharp inhale— and the beating of someone's heart.

While she was looking through his wallet, the hole in his chest filled in, heart regrowing, lungs repairing themselves, ribcage returning. When he's fixed himself enough to gasp for air, his skin is still in the process of regrowing. His eyes stare wide up at the sky, but he recovers pretty fast, even in the midst of pain and while still healing the damage away, at extremely fast speeds— recovered enough that he starts to scramble back in the gravel, pushing away with his feet, and reaching out toward her. He could throw lightning! He could knock her away! But what he does— is pull his wallet out of her hand and send it sailing off in another direction. My wallet.


Peter Petrelli, eh? She's heard that name recently, though Mandy can't recall where. Some guy running for office or something. Big deal. "Heh," she says, flipping the license over to see that the poor guy's an organ donor. Well, they certainly won't be getting his heart, that's for certain. And given the fact that the remnant acid coursing through his body will pretty much kill any of the other organs - and besides, he's already dead — well, the fact is, by the time the authorities find him, there won't be a whole lot of him left. Aw, too bad.

There's a bloody smudge across the wallet and the license now. Mandy gently clears the red away from the latter by wiping it on her shirt, before pocketing it. It's then that she hears the inhale from Peter, and her eyes - surprised - look back at him. There's no way he could still be alive, and yet she can see that he's mending. Oh no he doesn't. No effing way he's getting away with living, not on her watch. Her entire life suddenly becomes all about beating the guy into death, permanently. The wallet goes flying, while Mandy barrels directly at Peter, hands outstretched, going for the throat. Let's see if he can regrow a head, hm?


It's an easy name to remember, Peter Petrelli. And he's listed in the phone book, too! Could be bad, that. Either way, he's still breathing— or breathing again. He tries to scramble away, but he doesn't get far as her hands go around his throat and start eating away at the thin skin and the tissues under that. There's not much between her hands and taking his head clean off— and head removal is about the only thing he knows will kill him. It killed Sylar in the future— it will kill him. Which is why he does the only thing he can think to do. He grabs her wrists and pulls on her hands, dragging them away from his body.

It won't completely save him, he can't speak— he can barely gasp for air, and he's just holding her hands above him. Eventually his strength will give out, but for the moment— he's really strong. And she gets to watch as his body very slowly repaires itself again. Very slowly— she can almost watch each tissue reform. The pain in his face is almost unbareable…

She could literally kill him over and over… And while he's holding her at bay now


"Hah. Ha, ha…" she says as he holds her hands away. As she stares into his eyes, it's important to emphasise the fact that she doesn't look crazy. There's no madness in her eyes. This is a conscious choice she's making, completely deliberate, something she decided she had to do a very long time ago, and now Mandy's able to carry it out.

It's not just her hands that emit acid, though. It's everywhere. So as Peter takes her wrists, he will start to feel his hands burning. "How long can you hold out, Peter Petrelli?" she asks as the healing repairs his throat. Mandy herself isn't that strong, so if she didn't have the power that she does, she'd be very easy to hold onto.

She kicks her shoe off. The acid has already eaten through her sock, and so she presses her foot against his thigh. There's an artery there, one that bleeds readily when it's damaged. "You're like a toy that never breaks, aren't you?" she asks excitedly, toes digging into skin as she burns through the fabric of his pants. "Come home with me. We'll have a great time."

Grinning as she starts to feel the warmth of hot blood squishing through her toes, Mandy adds, "Or, we could just do something right here. Wouldn't that be fun? Do you wonder… Wonder what could happen with that kind of contact, hm? It could be the most exhilerating thing ever. Just you and me, right here." She looks up for a moment… The crashing of the building has doubtlessly summoned the police. "Come on. It'll only hurt a little."


The strength in his arms gives out. Peter lets out a scream, as her foot opens up a major arterty, poring more and more of her acid into his system. His body— the regeneration, can't keep up. Between trying to keep the acid from eating him alive, to repairing the damage on his chest, hands, neck and now leg— there's only so much that it can do. His hands can't hold her wrists anymore— they're barely there.

Releasing her, she'll be able to resume burning his beck, but her hands end up on his shoulders at first. He screams a few times, yelling hoarsely, protesting, trying to move— but the strength has left him, there's nothing to push her away or get her off of him. And he can't do anything at the moment except yell for her to stop, and try to fix the damage.

Damage that's still happening and not stopping. Is this what it's like to be truly helpless?


"Aw, you didn't answer," she says, obviously disappointed. Now that her hands are free, one reaches to gently take his face. Again, it's almost tender. "It's been years for me. How long has it been for you, huh? I guess that's all right. I guess I can live. I'm not into dead guys, anyway."

Which Peter will soon be. Again.

Her knee presses against his stomach as she crawls forward. Notably, her clothing is in complete tatters now. It would be so easy to take what she wants, but surely she's already gone far enough. The screams are beautiful to her ears. "As many times as it takes, love," she says, voice growing colder as that knee corrodes through flesh, through all the major organs there in Peter's stomach. To think, she can do this over and over! Oh, how uplifting.

Her hand reaches for his eyes. Nothing hurts more than that, at least according to the screams of her victims. "Do you know how sensitive the optic nerve is?" she asks, pressing her hand downward.


Well, technically the "STOP STOP" could be taken as an answer. Peter may not have heard what she said to him, may not have understood the implications. Between the pain and his own screams filling his ears— he can't hear that much at all. And then she presses her knee into his stomach, and he screams even louder, shifting under her, twitching. It won't take much for him to die again. It's already starting when she reaches up to put her hand near his eyes. He's staring up at it, twitching, gasping breath slowed…

And then her hand comes down. Eyes— face— so much damage done, so much burning— And for a moment he does scream, loudly— painfully. He's blinded, the acid even starts to seep towards his brain. This damage could be unrepairable— but his regeneration works hard, keeps things going— even as his breath stops and heart fails again.

She's right. She could keep doing this forever. Over and over…

And his hair, which had been growing out for the last couple of months without cutting— gets melted away.

This keeps up, there won't be much of him left to play with.


"Oooh, that was a rough one," she says to herself, placing her hands on the ground to push herself to her feet when it's all over. There's a few holes in his shirt, but it's in a good deal better shape than her own clothes are, so it doesn't take much thought before she pulls it from him, sliding it over her own head so that she's at least decent.

Mandy's getting thirsty now, but there's not a whole lot of water around the dry construction site. That's okay… There's always later for that. Straightening the shirt, she absently ties ends together where there are holes. It's better than nothing, honestly, even if it's kind of splattered with Peter's blood. At least it's something she can wear to make it home.

"So, how long 'til I can play with you again?" she asks the corpse, looking for the signs of healing. She wants to watch this time, to see how he does it. Fascinating, really… And the killer wonders to herself whether or not she can push him so far that he will no longer heal. That energy to do so must come from somewhere. What if he uses it up? Then what? "Are you done already? Should I go?"


The sun has set. There's little light at the construction site. The rubble of the a steel framed factory lays in the middle of the gravel filled construction site. The dust is still hanging in the air, sending up a smoke cloud signal that can be seen for miles. The police will probably arrive eventually, but with this factory on the edge of the Bronx, they might not be in quite the hurry they could otherwise be. Outside of the fallen rubble there are two people. One— for the moment— isn't even recognizable. His clothing has been burned off (and removed too) in many places. Blood spains the area around him, from all the various bloody messes that have occured. The skin at his leg, stomach, chest, neck, hands and face are still healing, the tissues reforming, the skin regrowing in places. When Peter gasps back into awareness— his eyes have grown back. He's covered in blood. And he tries to scramble away from her, legitimate fear in his eyes.


"Uh-uh, Honey," Mandy says, plopping herself down on the ground and reaching for his leg. At the moment, there's no burning, not yet, but her fingers wrap around what cloth remains. Adjusting the collar of the shirt she's wearing - once Peter's, now hers - she smiles. "That's some ability you've got there," she coos, looking toward his hair, or where his hair was. "How long does it last, huh? You want to try again?" His skin will start to hurt again, fingers caressing bone as she offers a coy smile. "You can heal, what are you so afraid of? Come on."

Around the perimeter of the construction site, there's a fence, part of which has been corroded and broken. The remnants of the destroyed section are jagged, uneven - it's where Mandy let herself in. Peter's wallet lays somewhere in that area - Mandy didn't see exactly where he flung it - but his license is in her pocket. She knows where he lives, but will she use that information? Probably not. Really, she doesn't care.

"Peter Petrelli. Now I remember you," she says, crawling now on her hands and knees, catlike, toward him. "You're the thorn in the Company's side. You're the one they talked about, aren't you? Not just the politician's brother. Maybe if I kill you, they'll let me go." Still smiling, she tilts her head. The fact that she was held on Level Five for so long almost gives her a moment of pride. Perhaps her capture way back then was pure luck! Now, she's about to rid the Company of someone else who should be down there.


How many dead-end phonecalls does it take for Nathan to get the hint? Not many. The clues he was given sometime when he had his phone off during an important meeting were enough to make him freeze. And then Peter's phone was off. And off. And off. By rights it should mean nothing. But when it's Peter… and considering their last conversation… can you blame Nathan for grabbing the closest deadly weapon and going?

On the perimeter of the construction site, Nathan lands after a blustery flight in. A jacket thrown over a shirt, slacks, sensible shoes - not exactly superhero material but was he ever? The shotgun he has in his hands isn't exactly straight from comic books either, but what are you going to do. The melted away fencing is what he sees first, and Nathan doesn't just run towards it. The thing that gets him to move first, however, is the wallet left lying dusty on the ground. But he doesn't need to pick it up - what he's looking for is visible in the short distance. The woman is barely seen, but it's the bloodied, near unrecognisable form - but just recognisable enough - of his brother that gains Nathan's attention for a few frozen seconds.

Mandy isn't shot dead on the spot. The bullet goes flying over her head, in fact, but the gunshot is loud and echoes through the area as Nathan storms through the corroded fencing, the clnk-CLNK sound of the empty shell being ejected, the next one in place being the only warning before he's aiming again.


There's a lot of gasping for air and attempting to move away. In all the times he's been killed, no one ever quite scared him like this. Perhaps because of how powerless he felt, because of the torture-like effect of this attack. It's all about pain, and she's not even crazy looking when she does it— Peter had actually came close to wanting to take her side in things, but at this further threat, he keeps trying to move away, it's not fast enough, she'll have him back in her hands soon enough…

But a shot rings out and goes directly over her head. The clnk-CLNK fills the air. His head snaps over to look, much of the skin healing into place again, but his hair might actually need time to return to normal. Not gone, but definitely shorter than it should be. Why isn't he doing anything? He's trying to, but his body's still repairing itself. Acid does a lot of internal damage that it's not fixing very fast.


Mandy's hand lifts from Peter's leg. She's not smiling anymore.

Dark eyes look upward as Nathan makes his way through the fence. Did he just shoot at her!? Well hell, this makes things a whole lot less enjoyable, doesn't it? It's kind of like evening the playing field, except for the fact that Mandy really doesn't want things evened. She's not yet done with her toy. Oh, if only she could throw the acid she creates, it would make this so much easier.

Her attempt to lift Peter up to use as a human shield is met with fail. Even so, she's ducking behind him, holding onto his shoulders where bare skin touches bare skin - and it burns. She's just behind him, lying against him, one hand moves from his shoulder, caressing his spine. "You'll stay there, or you'll feel what it's like to have your spine crushed. I hear it's unpleasant," Mandy whispers into Peter's ear. Retreating to hide fully behind him, she yells, "Go ahead, fire again."

You'll hit her meatshield. And really, Mandy won't care that much.


Nathan stops several feet from them, shotgun still aimed, pointed just above Peter. His finger is set firmly on the trigger, ready to fire as soon as even a hint of the woman becomes visible. But while he's there, all he can see are the injuries, the burns. The burns, he knows exactly what that's like, and his hands grip the weapon harder to keep himself from trembling. "Peter," he says, a little too quietly to be addressing either of them, before he lowers his aim towards the ground. "I'm not going to shoot. Let him go and get the hell out of here before I change my mind." She'll hear the crunch of rubble underfoot as Nathan begins to move - not forwards, but around a few steps.


To be honest, a crushed spine has been experienced before. She'd be surprised what all he's been through in his years— but there's a yell as he's hauled up, as her hands burn into his bare shoulders, causing more blood to appear. The smell is terrible at this point, between acid and melty skin and blood. Peter could make an attempt to get away, but his body is still fixing itself, and now it has brand new damage to repair. He isn't sure how much longer he can handle this… just as she suspected, so he can't help but be very grateful to see his brother, the shotgun and the hope for freedom and release. Yeah, he's never doing this stuff alone again, most likely.


A lesson learned, perhaps? Like it matters. "How 'bout if you put the gun down?" Mandy counters. One hand meanders upwrd to close around Peter's throat again. "You put the gun down, and I leave." Even Mandy knows when she's beaten, and she sure as hell can't do this much longer herself. She's thirsty, will have to drink a gallon of water just to feel satiated. Yet her touch still burns against Peter's skin, closer and closer to the vein in his throat. "How many times, Peter?" she asks. "Do you want to find out? Tell him to put the gun down." The hand on his back rubs gently, back and forth, almost cold to the touch. It's the one at his throat that's starting to sizzle and pop, to emit that foul, bloody stench.


The pain is almost too much. One would think after all he's been through, it would stop hurting so much. Not the case. But at her words Peter sets his jaw, looks at his brother and says, "Shoot us both." His voice is strained, deep, whispered tones.


He's being told two different things, and Nathan is only certain of one - no way in hell is he putting the gun down. It's Peter's command that makes his jaw set in indecision, but he knows he has to do something now. He has to be the one to react first. As if the smell of acid and blood wasn't enough to get under his skin.

Compulsively, the shotgun jerks upwards, aimed straight at Peter's healing chest. The sound of the bullet leaving the weapon echoes around them once more, and swear to god if this doesn't work Nathan is not going to be happy about having this on his conscience. He's already moving towards the two, covering the distance in long strides.


There's that flash of determination in his pained eyes as Peter watches his brother, urging him to shoot. Just not to the head, please. When he does— there's a split second of relief, because maybe she'll get what she deserves— The shot goes through his chest. For the third time in the day, his heart slows— and he loses all awareness, eyes blacking out. He'll probably hit the ground with a thud. Whatever happened to the person shot through her human shield, he may not know until later. How many times can he die in a day? As long as he comes back, one more shouldn't destroy either of them.



What did he just say!?

Mandy doesn't have any time to react before Nathan fires again. Duh, she should have seen this one coming, with a guy who can pretty much heal everything, it seems, a shotgun blast to the chest can't really do too much, can it? As the charge rips through Peter, Mandy's eyes widen as it embeds itself into her side. She gasps, letting go of Peter as her hands go instead to the bloody wound forming over her ribs. The pain is intense, she can barely see straight. But she knows enough that she has to get the hell out of here, and fast, if she wants to escape with her life. Stumbling to her feet, Mandy makes it about a half a dozen steps before she's putting her hand down on the ground in an attempt to steady herself, and then she face-plants right into the gravel. She yells, she screams, she curls up into the fetal position for a good couple seconds before she tries again. Jesus. Ow.


It's a good thing for Mandy that Nathan cares more about getting to Peter than he does about finishing her off. As long as she's moving away, he's happy, as he falls to his knees beside Peter. "Pete," he says, a hand hovering near his younger brother's face, not wishing to touch where injuries are still healing. He risks placing a hand on the most undamaged area, trying to see life in Peter's eyes. He doesn't, immediately, so Nathan tears his attention from Peter, towards where Mandy is trying to get to her feet. Clnk-CLNK. He fires again, but wildly, a heated reaction rather than the cold, more precise way he'd fired the second time, and the bullet whizzes by uselessly. Call it a warning. Yeah, that's it.


It doesn't happen right away. But when it does, it's pretty sudden. There's a gasped inhale, so loud that Peter can barely manage to breathe, and then he looks up at his brother, with the shot gun, and says, "Bennet— Company— She's— one of their— escapees…" But he can barely sit up, she might start running again. He could hold her down, stop her, but he really can't. He doesn't have the strength to. His wallet is over on the ground by the fence, his cellphone and notepad with the sketch he drew are over by the truck off to the side, sitting on the hood unattended. And he's shaking, his arms barely able to hold up his own weight, and he can't do anything at all.


Damn good warning.

It gives Mandy enough of a dose of adrenaline to get her on her feet again. It hurts, she's barely making any time as she struggles to reach the fence and get away, but she's going as quickly as she can. Her hand rests on a post as she stumbles by, the handprint hissing and popping as acid destroys yet another thing in her way. She's not going to make it far. When Peter says those magic words, though — Bennet. Company. Mandy looks back over her shoulder, grits her teeth, and continues on. She has to get out of here before they find her. Unfortunately, she's leaving a trail of blood. Where the hell can she go?


"I know." Nathan did figure that much. The shotgun is abandoned with a clatter, hands reaching to steady Peter, trying to avoid any traces of that acid if he can. "She's injured. She can't go far. Stop moving." No, Nathan couldn't care less about an escapee staggering away from them - as long as she's staggering away. What he wants is for Peter to start looking normal again so they can get out of there, a hand moving to hover just over where the bullet had torn through the younger man's chest as if he were the one who could actually help and heal such a wound.


As his brother's hand hovers over the gaping would in his chest, Peter looks at him rather helplessly, wide eyed, and then… glances toward the fleeing woman. She'll have a tough time getting far, this he knows, but he grits his teeth and groans through the pain as pieces of the shot are pushed out of his body, and the wound heals over. Even most of the burned off skin from the acid has repaired itself, now. But that doesn't remove the blood. at least his body has probably absorbed almost all of the acid as well, but who knows how long it will take him to actually stop healing. Either way, for the first time in days, he's legitimately tired.

"We need to— call— and get out of here— the police might still— show up. Collapsed… building." Someone might've called it in.


Nathan is pulling his jacket off as Peter continues to talk, and whether the other man wants it or not, it's being wrapped around Peter's shoulders. It might agitate what's left of the burn wounds, but it'll protect sore skin from the journey home. "I'll call," he assures Peter, with no amount of patience. "But we are getting out of here." Peter might have other things to think about - the reparation of his own body, for one, but should he spare Nathan a glance, it's clear the older man is visibly shaken, focused only on what to do next. His hand goes to his shotgun, with the thought that they can't leave that behind, which is when he remembers the wallet. "Stay there." He's moving to go and collect it, taking the gun with. He's not aware of what other possessions are scattered about the place, but this one, he pockets. On the way back, Peter will see that Nathan has his own phone in hand. Texting, it's the way of the future.


There's a few hisses of pain, but the jacket is actually much appreciated. It smells like his brother— though the blood and the acid still fills most of his sense of smell. There lets out a ragged sound, before eyes fall on his brother, using the phone, and picking up a wallet. His wallet. Peter's reliefed, but then looks toward the truck parked off to the side, "Nat— Nathan… my phone. And my sketchbook… over— on the hood of the truck." Probably best to leave as little evidence behind as possible, besides the blood stain on the gravel, and the pieces of clothes that got burnt off. Including one of his shoes, which he only now notices. Half of the shoe sits in the gravel, the other half gone. He doesn't even remember her touching his feet…


The sketchpad, the phone, are both collected hurriedly, hand to Peter so that they can be stowed away in jacket pockets. It's going to be a very awkward flight home, along with the weapon, but they just can't afford to take chances. Even as Nathan evaluates for a brief moment the scraps of fabric and smears of blood they'll leave behind, he can't help but wonder how this would affect him in the polls. "Can you fly?" he asks Peter, already sort of knowing the answer as he moves to help his brother up.


"Yeah— sure— I can fly," Peter says as he shoves the two items into the coat for easier carrying— or shakily places them to be more accurate. His hands are shaking. And it's very likely that he won't be flying anywhere at all, since he can barely stand on his own. His brother's help is much needed, and he reaches to wrap his arms around him, holding on. Eyes close. He's just hugging for this moment. Maybe he intends to fly in a minute— but it's not likely. Not with the way his legs and arms are still shaking, or the speed his heart is racing, or the ragged breaths…


Nathan falters, but when Peter leans against him, he's hugged back fiercely, despite the scent of blood, a hand coming up to rest against the back of Peter's head, a protective gesture. There's also plenty of apology there - sorry he couldn't get there faster, that he couldn't outright kill the woman - but he leaves it unspoken for now. Then, his arms wrap more securely around Peter, supporting rather than clinging. "Hold on," is his warning, before they're suddenly shooting up into the air, leaving behind a scattering of rubble and dust.

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