2010-01-15: Twist of Fate



Date: January 15th, 2010


Amrit continues his search for his mother but again it leads him to one A. Frazier.

"Twist of Fate"

Anais' Apartment, Deveaux Building, NYC

Amrit has visited many places looking for his mother. Everywhere he has checked has either been abandoned, or someone else was living there. Yet each time he found one of these empty or newly-inhabited homes or apartments he also found clues that would lead him to the next location. And the next. And the next. Amrit was still confused how recent medical records could not only list the wrong contact information and street address, but also the wrong hospital room. Yet it was fortunate that he had found that incorrect room. Thinking about what Anais might still be suffering if he had not discovered her still makes rage boil up within him. But Amrit has a good feeling about this last clue.

He already visited the Deveaux Building once, and discovered it was under surveillance by unmarked vans and shifty people. He briefly managed to enter the building only to encounter a somewhat-helpful but stand-offish Japanese man, and a crazy lady who was seeing and interacting with invisible entities. He left quickly after not seeing his mother's name on the registry in the lobby. But he is back now, and easily manages to get inside the building with a little help from his 'Open Sez-me' trick. Basically, the doorman thought he heard someone knock on the door, and opened it. There was no one there that he could see. Amrit then walked inside.

Now Amrit is armed with a sharp-looking suit, new shoes, combed hair, and a positive identification. While checking at the post office he found that the address for Asha Gandhi was registered at the Deveaux Building! From there he was able to determine which floor and which apartment she lived in with a little coercion from someone who used to live there. Now he just needs to be buzzed up to that floor, and he can finally meet the mother he was told was dead.

With all that narrative out of the way, Amrit walks right up to the buzzer buttons at the registry, and pushes the right one. He doesn't check the name for that apartment immediately. And in Anais's apartment… The buzzer goes off.

Anais lives a quiet and unsettled life, or she did before Nathan Petrelli strolled into her life. Now that the workplace has become somewhat less than ordered, and predictable, the woman needs the serenity of home that much more. Upon arriving home from the office, she made herself a cup of tea and settled on the couch with a notebook in lap. It's been awhile since she wrote to her father and telling him of recent events in her life, although heavily censored, would be calming.

It was a good plan, and it was working to settle her nerves quite well. Until the buzzer goes off.

She places the growing letter on the table before the couch and sighs while standing to cross to the door. In the lobby below, were Amrit to look, he would see 'A. Frazier' beside the apartment number. And as that small sign promises, it is A. Frazier's voice that comes through the little speaker. The reproduction is excellent. "Hello? Who is it?"

Amrit pauses. That voice is far too young to be his mother. He THINKS so, at least. And it sounds familiar… Almost like… He leans in to the speaker on his side, and answers, "H-Hello?" He is a bit nervous and confused, but continues, "My name is Amrit. I am looking for Asha Gandhi." He glances at the name on the registry and sees— A. Frazier. Could Asha have changed her last name? Possible. Very possible. But that voice can't be anyone other than—

"…Miss Anais?"

There is a click on the other end, when Anais lifts her thumb from the button and blinks at the gold plate on the wall. Displays of surprise are easier to draw from her in private; a moment is spent in looking with some uncertainty at her own reflection broken by the speaker grille. Then she depresses the button again.

"Amrit? From the hospital?" Click. "You thought your mother lives here?" The curiosity is recognizable, the wariness might be less expected. Having been up to her elbows in government conspiracy during the workday hours makes it difficult to shake the tension of suspicion while here at home. But she does owe the man thanks…

Before Amrit has time to answer, the intercom ticks again, followed by the metallic buzzer of the door's lock being undone. "Come up, please."

Amrit pauses again, confounded that twice he would be directed to the place where Anais was, when it was supposed to be his mother. He has no time to answer before being asked to come up. So he does, saying only, "I will be there in a moment." He does not know if that went over the transmitter or not. He just strides in the direction that will lead to where he has been invited to go, and heads into the elevator. When he arrives on the correct floor, the door is unlocked, as expected. He then walks to Anais's apartment door and knocks lightly.

Anais must have been listening at the door; it's unlocked and drawn open the instant knuckles touch wood. And there she stands, in a grey silk tunic and dark leggings, a cultured smile that hides her uncertainty. "It really is you," she says after looking him up and down. The smile shifts to something more genuine and the woman steps back to allow him to enter. "I wasn't certain…after I left the hospital, I thought maybe I'd dreamt it all. You, being there. And now you're here…"

The woman tilts her head, expression becoming puzzled. "I'm afraid whoever gave you this address was mistaken. I've lived here for years now."

Amrit nods and smiles to Anais, seeing her looking much healthier and livelier than when she was in that hospital bed. "There are many who are not sure they really met me. It is good to be remembered for once." When Anais allows him to enter, he does so, preferring not to discuss what happened at the hospital out in the hall. "Ah. Well, it may have been years ago that she lived here. I am surprised that records would be that faulty at two different establishments, however…" He glances around Anais's apartment, keeping his hands folded at his waist, and trying not to be obstrusive or nosy. He wants to ask questions. Questions about his mother, questions about why he was directed to the same person twice when looking for someone else, questions about a lot of things. Instead he remembers his manners and asks, "You look much better than you did at the hospital. I take it you have mostly recovered? At least as much as one can after an… Experience like that?"

Yes, such conversations are better held in private. Anais waits until he's inside, then closes and bolts the door behind the man. "Mostly, yes. Which is far better than not at all. I'm…grateful for what you did. The time you've given me." Heartfelt words, although quietly spoken, with eyes cast down. She might have been drawn out of that experience, living her death over and over again, but healing is an ongoing process. Still, she makes an attempt to be a gracious hostess. A hand gestures towards the couches. "Would you like to sit down? I have tea, or coffee. You're looking better as well," she goes on to say, leading the way towards the sitting area. "I'm not sure what you mean by those who aren't sure they met you…do you mean…what it is you can do?"

"Thank you for the offer, but I am fine," Amrit answers the offer of coffee or tea. "And yes… I suppose I strained myself back then. It happens sometimes. It generally only leads to headaches, or occasionally nosebleeds, however. No permanent damage so far." As he seats himself on one of the couches, after following Anais, he hesitates briefly, before saying, "I do not know if there is a name for it… But I am able to do many things with my mind. I can hear thoughts, or send my own thoughts to someone else. I can also 'suggest' things to someone, so that they might see something or believe something that is not real or true. Such as making myself seem to be invisible, or causing someone forget they ever met me. I have discovered I can even enter someone's mind while they sleep… Or are in a coma." He smiles faintly, gesturing at Anais.

"I could give a demonstration, but you most likely would prefer that people stay out of your head from now on, and I am not in the habit of eavesdropping on the thoughts of those I would consider… Friends." He pauses thoughtfully, wondering if he can really consider Anais a friend. They barely know each other. Yet he trusts her to a degree he rarely trusts anyone. He does not wish to give up what might be the first friend he has had since he can remember.

Anais had intended to carry on into the kitchen but when the offer of something to drink is refused, she settles on the opposite couch instead. Perched on the cushion's edge, her fingers laced together and hands set in her lap, she looks very prim. And rather confused. "That…sounds a great deal like telepathy. Although I've only ever read about it, never…" Never actually seen it in practice, or realized she'd experienced it until he described his various capabilities.

The woman takes a slow breath, releasing it slowly before finding another smile. She too is thoughtful now but attempting to soothe any awkwardness. "I think I've had the best demonstration you could have given, already. Undoing what that…person had done to me. And harming yourself, in the process. I really don't have words to describe how much I owe you." She pauses a moment. "And now here you are…it seems a strange coincidence."

Amrit is not the most educated person in the world by far. Thus the term is new to him. "'Telepathy'… Perhaps that is what it is. I do not know why I can do what I do, or even how. It first came about on the same day my father was murdered, in India. After I helped bring the ones responsible to justice, I discovered that it was possible my mother was still alive, and living here in New York City. I had been told she was dead, and since I have no other family, I have been looking for her."

He sighs and rubs a hand on his forehead before saying, "Seeing you alive and well is reward enough for me. I have not had the opportunity to help people with my telepathy. I have mostly used it to punish bad people. Thiefs, kidnappers, murderers, rapists… I try to catch them before they can strike, but when I can not, I make sure they know the price of hurting others." His expression is serious, and a bit dark, but when he looks up, he relaxes at the sight of Anais.

"Helping an innocent person to recover from such misdeeds? That was a very rewarding experience. Most of the time, I feel as if I am in a never-ending struggle against evil, and that I will never be able to stop every single wicked person in the world. I sometimes wonder if I am making a difference at all. And then I remember you, and I know," he shakes a finger. "I know that I am helping, even if it is only one person at a time."

He does not comment immediately on the coincidence, but instead folds his hands in his lap. Then he says, "I noticed that. The reason I found you in the first place was because the medical records I borrowed indicated there was an Asha Gandhi staying in your hospital suite. There was not. And now the same thing happens with what I was convinced would be my mother's apartment. And it is yours!" He shrugs and smiles. "It seems fate is toying with us both."

The man's story is listened to in silence. Anais is nothing if not an excellent listener, although her brown eyes grow larger throughout the tale. By the end of it, she finds that she little to say. What could she say, given the differences between their lives? The differences between them. Again a soft breath is let out, and she looks off to the side, reach up to absently push her bright hair back behind her ears.

"I…believe I might have a drink, myself. Are you certain you don't want anything?" She listens for his answer while standing, and stepping into the kitchen. There a kettle is filled and put onto the stove to heat, and a box of tea retrieved from the cupboard. It places her back to the man but apparently she trusts him enough (having saved her life) to not threaten it now. "You still deserve thanks for what you've done for me." Even if she isn't certain she's comfortable, hearing that he is something of a hunter of others. Whether they've sinned or not.

"Fate or…or something. I'm not sure. There's been so much going on of late, so many secrets, and games being played…I wish I could believe it was fate."

Amrit nods. "Yes, I am certain. I do not mean to be rude by not accepting, but I made sure my needs were sated before coming here. I did not know what to expect, after all." He smiles as she offers her thanks once again. "Well, if it will make you feel better, I appreciate your gratitude. However, unless you know anything about where my mother might be, there is little you can do that I would be willing to accept as 'payment'. I have money, a temporary place to stay — though not as nice as this — and I am convinced that as long as I do not give up hope, I will one day find what I am looking for. And I did what I did because you needed help, not for any reward."

He frowns a bit at the talk of secrets and games, trying to recall what he saw in Anais's head. "Does this have something to do with Senator Petrelli? He called himself Brayden when we met at a 'Starbucks', but I later discovered his real name from watching the news. He seemed lost at the time… Confused about who he was. And I recall that you were concerned about his children…" He looks at the floor in concentration. "There is something going on in this country. The girl that turned into water on television… The person that tormented you… I, with my telepathy… There may be others out there. And if what the little girl claimed was true, then the United States government is treating people with such unique qualities as terrorists. I do not know how many of us there are, but I know that I am not interested in being locked up because of who or what I am."

It doesn't take long for Anais to prepare her cup of tea; it's a ritual she's performed thousands of times, and before long she emerges from the kitchen again with mug in hand to retake her place on the couch. Having something to drink means that she has something to do with her hands, as well as something to look down at while considering what Amrit has said. Weighing every possible response before deciding that honesty might be best. Especially with a telepath seated across from her.

"I wish I could tell you where your mother is but I'd never heard of her until you gave me her name. Nathan…his children are safe. The woman who hurt me was looking for information on him, and on where his family might be. I'm not certain who she was working for, but…" Anais briefly closes her eyes. Again, painful memories. It takes her a moment before she can continue. "There are others out there, Amrit. Like you. Enough that the government is hunting them. You have to be careful, even with everything that you can do. One small slip and you might draw their attention. But people are trying to stop them. People like you, and those like me as well. It isn't right, they can't be allowed to continue."

Frowning, Amrit looks up at Anais. He listens to what she has to say, and considers this new information. And here he had been completely unaware of any of this. Finally, he says, "It sounds like you and the others could use some help. Not to mention, if my mother is like me as well… She may have intentionally made it such that I would be lead to those committing wrong doings… The medical records, and the post office… Why would both be so drastically wrong about where she is, if it was not intentional on someone's part?"

Shaking his head. "Perhaps I am stretching for answers. Perhaps it was just an error in records-keeping. But either way, I feel I have no choice but to help you in whatever way you need. The wicked can not be allowed to go unpunished, and the suffering can not be allowed to continue suffering. I have to help whoever I can, however I can. If you will accept my aid, that is."

Anais meets the man's eyes, her expression already solemn. She doesn't care to think that someone might be playing with records that lead directly to herself. The danger of that, the danger to her sister… Slowly, the redhead breathes out again and lifts the tea for a sip, to steady her nerves. "It isn't for me to accept or deny, but I can certainly pass on your willingness to those who are making the plans. I'd have done so before this but…I only had your first name, and I wasn't sure if you'd rather remain in hiding," she explains. It takes an effort but she finds another slight smile. "And, of course, I wasn't certain you were real."

But now that she knows he is, it seems to make sense. A telepath, one capable of leading someone from a living nightmare, might well be useful to Nathan. Provided something hasn't gone horribly wrong with the man, as her instincts are telling her has happened. "Do you have contact information, Amrit? A phone number, an address, somewhere I can reach you to let you know what they say?"

Amrit nods and smiles back. "Understandable. Yes, I can write it down for you." He looks around for some paper and something to write with. "Also, are you aware that this building is being watched?" he asks idly when he finds a receipt in one of his pockets. There's paper. "Do you have a pen or pencil?"

Watched? Anais doesn't appear to have been aware of that fact at all, to judge by the way the mug she's holding dips, almost timed to the draining of color from her face. "Watched by whom?" she asks through lips gone numb. "Do you mean right now? Did they see you come inside?" Did they see him enter her apartment is the more pertinent question.

She sets the tea down and stands to cross to the window. Not in search of writing materials but rather to look down at the street so far below. Of course, it's impossible to make out just who or what might be down there. "I…I have to call my sister and warn her. A pen? I…oh, yes! There, on the table." Anais turns to nod at the notebook she'd set down earlier, the letter half-finished and visible. The pen has rolled slightly beneath the pad of paper, just its end sticking out. "I'm sorry, Amrit."

Amrit looks embarassed by Anais's reaction, or perhaps by his own unthinking words. "Ah. I am sorry for bringing it up like that. There are vans outside. Sometimes unmarked, others with generic markings. When I first approached the building, about a week ago, they were very suspicious and interested in me. I could 'hear' their thoughts as they focused on me. I suggested that I was not actually interesting at all and that they should ignore me. So they did. This time I just made myself completely invisible. That does not prevent any surveillance equipment from recording me, but those doing the recording will, if questioned, insist I am no one important, unless they see evidence to the contrary. I imagine they suspect that people with strange powers live here, if they are part of the government." He has been writing on a blank page all this time, putting down his address and phone number. Then he puts down the notepad and stands up. "As far as I know, there are none of them inside the building itself. Just outside."

Anais lacks a strange power. But she works for an Evolved, and is related to another. Is that enough to damn her in the government's eyes? The woman has no idea. She leaves the window, crossing the room with brisk, purposeful steps. "No apology needed." Now that she's recovered from the shock, the businesswoman has taken over again. Her smile is slight, proper, even thoughtful, and she even extends her hand to Amrit, intending to shake his. But those brown eyes are distant, her thoughts already turning to how to handle the situation. A hotel? No, if they are watching her a change might alert them. Life as usual, then… "I'm glad you told me, now I'll know what to look for. And I am also glad to have seen you again. To be able to thank you, with a clear head. I'll speak to those I work with, hopefully I'll be able to contact you soon with information."

Amrit nods and accepts the offered hand, shaking firmly but not hard. "Thank you. I will wait for your call. Also, when I leave, I will suggest that the watchers have something to do on the other side of the city. That way no one will see me go. They will return eventually, but for awhile, you will be able to leave if you must." He then turns to depart.

"I may just do that. Thank you, Amrit." As any good hostess would, Anais slides past the man to open the door for him. She's shaken off some of that critical revery, enough so that there is a hint of warmth to her smile now. "Please be careful. I realize you can do a great deal but these people…they have the full resources of the United States government behind them. So…be careful. I'll call you soon."

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