Assignment

Participants:

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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Assignment
Synopsis Peter reintroduces himself to Sabra, and they discuss his future with the Company.
Date October 16, 2008

Primatech Research, Sabra's Office


Mornings are, apparently, eventful times for Sabra. Then again, her whole days are busy. Today, the elderly woman wears a long-sleeved blouse with floral print on a white background; it goes well with the room's decor, which tends towards the light, cheerful, and warm. Plus well-lit, by natural light. Sabra is comfortably esconced behind her desk with a cup of tea at her elbow and a file in hand, reading glasses perched on her nose.

Ashton is also seated, in his case at a side table, with what appears to be paperwork of his own at hand and beneath pen.

The knock on the door comes a few minutes before his appointment is scheduled, but punctual is something Peter Petrelli has been forced to become when working on the company's schedule. The knock comes with only a moment of hesitation before the office door opens, and the young man steps in with a quiet and hesitant smile. The suit he wears reminds Sabra of the last time she'd seen Peter face to face, at his father Arthur's funeral a little over two years ago, but the scar that travels across his face is a reminder that the young man who stood with tears in his eyes at his father's coffin has changed as much as the city around him has.

"I hope you don't mind," He says quietly, eyes tracking across the office floor for a moment as he collects his thoughts, "I was already up here filing a report on my temporary absence, and I thought I'd just come straight over." His tone of voice has also changed since then, having a rougher edge to it, much of that naive uncertainty lost. "It's…" His eyes finally settle on Sabra after briefly examining the unfamiliar Ashton, "…I guess good to see you, but…" It assuredly doesn't take a telepath's gift to discern the look of surprise that Peter can't shake about Sabra's presence here.

"But this isn't exactly the reunion you imagined?" Sabra completes for him, standing up and smiling broadly at the young man. "You are always welcome here, dear boy. Come - sit down!" She waves a hand at the chairs before the desk. "Would you care for some tea?" The question that is always asked, when Sabra's the hostess. "Coffee, perhaps? You young folks always like coffee, it seems."

Peter's head gives a subtle tile to one side as Sabra finishes his sentence, trying to puzzle out the scenario. He'd expected this meeting, from the moment he recieved the memo, but now everything he had planned to say was out the window. Managing to maintain that smile, Peter nods silently and walks over towards the chair. He hesitates behind it, one hand coming to rest on the back, the other hand tucked into the pockets of his slacks. He eyes Ashton wordlessly, then lets his eyes settle on the floor again. "Ah," He swallows, trying to keep from being entirely awkward, "Coffee, sure."

Finally stepping around the chair, Peter settles down, finding it difficult to make — let alone maintain — eye contact with the older woman. His brow shows his tension, creasing that scar across his face, making it stand out more than it already does. After a short time, he exhales a heavy breath and looks up to Sabra, expectantly. His look betrays his internal thoughts, so many questions to ask, he hardly knows where to begin.

A gesture of one hand — more meaningful than a simple wave, but no part of any standard sign language — sends Ashton into the next room, steps nearly silent in spite of his height. Blue eyes watch Peter make his way across the room and, however incrementally, into the chair, never once losing their pleasant light. Sabra also sits down in her own seat, folding her hands on the edge of the desk. "It's been a long time, Peter. I'll gladly sit here all day if that's how long you need to figure out where to start," she adds with a soft smile.

"If this was a few weeks ago," Peter responds quickly, a crooked smile crossing his face as he looks down to Sabra's desk, "I wouldn't even know where the beginning was." One hand comes up to Peter's brow, pinching the bridge of his nose as he lowers his head, struggling to find some semblance of balance in this unexpectedly jarring meeting of his past and his present. It takes some time for him to get his head in order, and when he looks back up the anxiety in his eyes has only grown. "How long… I mean…" It makes him stumble over words that he'd rehearsed, prepared. "How long have you known? About people like me — " It didn't even dawn on him until right there, "Are — Are you…?" The myriad possibilities of what Sabra's answers could be make Peter hesitate from actually answering the question, the implications about what his family could possibly know, it's all almost too much to consider.

She waits patiently, sipping at her tea; Ashton steps in, places a cup of coffee, a small pitcher of cream, and a glass of sugar cubes where Peter can easily reach them, and then steps back to be a shadow on the wall. The smile returns to Sabra's face as the young man finally manages to get his questions out. "My first partner died the year you were born." It isn't an answer, but it's not a statement meant to stand alone, either; she continues to speak. "I've known… for a very long time." Her lips draw up in a rueful, good-humored smile. "And I don't need the reminder of my age, thank you very much."

Like a child scolded gently by his grandmother, Peter lowers his head with that crooked smile returning. Despite the confirmations of his fears, Peter seems to relax around Sabra. "I… Never thought this went back so far. Even after coming aboard here, I…" He eyes the coffee and cream on the side of the desk closest to him. As he continues to talk, the coffee slides across the tabletop, creamer lifts up of its own accord and begins to pour, and three subes of sugar quietly drop into the lightening brew that stirs itself. "I figured the Company was founded after the bomb, I…" That revelation in itself shatters much of his preconcieved notions. Leaning back into his chair with a creak, Peter holds out one hand to recieve the finished cup of coffee, taking a sip to buy time as he thinks.

"I guess… none of that really matters all that much though. How long I guess, isn't as important as why… But I'm not even sure that's a question I can ask." His eyes meet Sabra's finally, "Does my mother know? My dad? Is that why all of this — Why Nathan and I are the way we are?" His head cants to the side slightly, the cup of coffee lowering to be cradled in both hands. "I just — I can't get my head around all of this, I guess you coming here turned things more upside-down than I'd thought."

Sabra sips at her tea as Peter mulls over the revelations, giving him both the time and silence in which to think. She doesn't even raise an eyebrow at the use of telekinesis. "What your parents know, or don't know — " Or 'knew', in the case of Arthur. " — I cannot guess; it's hard enough keeping my own memory in order, and I haven't seen your mother in years." Which is to say, whatever I know or don't know, it's not my place to tell you. "'Why' and 'what' — are you trying to ask if you were made?" The old woman's face crinkles and she laughs softly over the cup in her hands. "Honey, you're no more — or less — 'made' than any other child ever born. What you are is the luck of the draw." And if the deck was stacked by an Evolved bloodline… well, that's his mother's story to tell.

Peter's head tilts to the side, "Well, I… I'm not entirely sure what I meant." His brow tenses, "I've seen more people like me here in the last few weeks than…" He changes the direction of the conversation, old friends coming to mind that cause him to shift both conversationally and physically, settling forward in the chair with the half finished cup of coffee held in both hands between his knees. "I'm just looking for some kind've confirmation of what I think I'm doing here." He looks away from Sabra, down into the coffee cup at his own reflection. "How much do you know, I mean, about what I've been doing? About…" Perhaps he was going to say what I did, but the words are lost to him. "I feel like I should explain myself, given what I'm doing here, but I don't want to tell you what you already know." It's a careful way of maintaining a level of secrecy, for the benefit of people he cares for. A precarious balance between his former life with PARIAH, and his current live with the Company.

Since he chooses to change the subject, Sabra lets the first of Peter's remarks pass without any comment in response. "Well, I'd like to hear everything you've done in the past dozen years," the old woman remarks, brows lifting slightly. "My only regret in never having children is the lack of grandchildren." Which he's just about young enough to be, for Sabra. She smiles softly at Peter, wrapping both delicate hands around her teacup. "But neither you nor I have the time for that. Still — they say, in telling a story, to begin at the beginning, fill in the middle, and finish with the end." Blue eyes regard the young man with patient warmth. "What I know, dear one, matters less than what you want or need to say." The cup is replaced on its saucer, her hands folded in her lap. "If that amounts to nothing? Then so it is. But if you should ever want to talk, Peter, I will always listen."

Peter swallows a bit dryly, and the delicate way in which Sabra verbally dances around his more pointed questions reminds him of conversations with Noah Bennet. He tenses for a moment, breathing out a heavy sigh as he lifts that cup of coffee back to his lips, using the time it takes to drain it empty to consider how to go about explaining things to her. When that time runs out, he looks down into the empty mug, then across the desk to Sabra again

"You probably know I led the raid on this facility, the one that led to Director Bishop being badly injured, his daughter kidnapped, and a slew of maniacs loosed on the city." His jaw tenses, head tilting to the side, but he tries not to break eye-contact from Sabra. "I take responsibility for that, which is why I'm still here." He doesn't explain his situation beyond this, perhaps testing exactly how much Sabra is aware of his previous condition. "The group I was with was operating under false assumptions, partly." He doesn't sound terrible proud of that, "Sylar, he had taken on the forum of Mohinder Suresh, and manipulated us into bringing him to this facility. But despite that, I was the one that organized the raid. It's my mess to clean up."

Having no need to press, Sabra does not; she takes up her tea again and sips at it, though the cup is soon empty. Ashton promptly refills it, adding a bit of cream. He offers Peter coffee, as well, by unobtrusive gesture. And when the refreshments are tended to, the silent man returns to his wall space.

Stirring her tea, careful not to clatter the spoon against the cup, Sabra nods once in response to Peter's words. Maintaining eye contact readily enough; it's not like he doesn't have all of her attention. "We all do as best we can with what we have, Peter. Don't beat yourself up over it." These things do happen. "But I'm certainly in favor of 'cleaning up'. How do you propose to go about doing this?" Whatever she knows or doesn't know about his current and prior states, Sabra seems to be keeping it to herself.

Sabra's question is a good one, and it's one that Peter doesn't have a readily available answer for. He leans back in his chair, taking the refilled cup of coffee with a faint, but thankful, smile to Ashton. He doesn't drink though, not yet, staring down at his murky reflection in the cup again as he speaks. "We need to get Agent Bishop back," It's not natural for Peter to be so stiff, terms like Agent Bishop coming off as rehearsed and clumbsy to him, "Agent Buckley has a plan, and I'm trying my level best to follow it. But, frankly, portions of it aremaking me unsettled. He's dealing with Sylar, for whatever reason. I…" It troubles him, greatly, "We're at a complete loss. Niki Sanders gave us some information on Adam's whereabouts, but by the time anyone looked into it, he and Huruma had already moved. I don't know, I…" His eyes lift up to Sabra from the cup. "Why haven't we employed Molly?"

"Agent Buckley is revising his plan," Sabra remarks, sipping briefly at her tea. Unlike Peter, she says the formal address with ease. "I should be getting an outline from him soon." The old lady's tone of voice indicates she isn't going to divulge further details at this time — but then, if an outline has yet to be submitted, she may not have the details to divulge. "Miss Walker is not ours to employ, Peter," Sabra points out with a small and crooked smile. "She is under the aegis of Homeland Security, and… well. Let us just say that there is still a great deal of politicking in the air between one and the other." The woman's blue eyes are shadowed, as rarely happens.

"She… is?" It certainly isn't the answer Peter was expecting, and his eyes downcast to the coffee cup again. All the fear and speculation about how her abilities were being employed seems to have been for naught. It takes a while for the young agent to come up with a proper response, looking back to Sabra with a furrowed brow. "If the opportunity arises to get me close to her, I may be able to help fix that situation." There's a faint smile there, even if a shot in the dark. "I'll admit I'm surprised how easily," He inclines his head as he corrects, "Seemingly easy, anyway, that I've been accepted here, despite my background." One thumb traces along the outside edge of his mug while he considers how to phrase what comes next, "What would you recommend I do with my time here, then? Is there anything in specific I can do? I think I speak for a lot of us when I say it's hard sitting on my hands right now."

"She is," Sabra affirms. There's a few qualifiers, but Peter doesn't hear them, and so they might as well not exist. The elderly lady raises her eyebrows as Peter continues to speak, setting her teacup down again and folding her hands on the edge of the table. "The Company takes in people from all backgrounds, Peter," she points out. "Including ones you could not imagine."

Sabra takes the time to consider Peter, seeming to weigh something in her mind. "You want something to do, hmm?" Blue eyes skim across the paperwork on her desk, as if looking for a cue. And finding one, it seems — but it really isn't as spur-of-the-moment a decision as Sabra makes it look. "Since the raid on this facility, various security measures have been added, upgraded, or replaced. However, I think we need an… independent eye to make sure they're all sound and verify that all the holes have been plugged." And who better than the one who made the raid in the first place? Even if, on the surface, it sounds like setting the fox to guard the henhouse.

Peter's brows raise, and his eyes divert down to the paperwork on Sabra's desk, then back up to the woman again, "You're putting me in charge of security?" His tone sounds minutely incredulous, lips pursing with a discerning look of scrutiny as he eyes the papers again. A few answers flit through his head, concerns about Wireless, then further concerns about what she might do to him if she finds out he's working with the Company. That in itself brings an uncomfortable grimace to his face.

Peter lifts his eyes lift up to Sabra, "I'm hardly a technician, but I can point out some obvious flaws. I just… It's hard to imagine ways to circumvent some of the things I can do, and some of the things people like me can do." His head tilts to the side, thoughtfully. "Truth be told, I don't think it was the Company's fault that the raid happened the way it did. Aside from being undermanned in raw physical protection, this building at the time — And I'm not sure if things have changed since then — Can't withstand a concentrated attack by Evolved. The mundane defenses just… crumbled. I… I'm not sure what you'd want me to find."

"Peter, I never said anything about being in charge," Sabra points out, tone dryly amused. "I just want you to — imagine." She smiles serenly at the young man. "Tell me what works and what can be improved. Perhaps — by this time next week?" the old woman concludes, raising a brow and looking over at him.

There's a bit of a sag in Peter's shoulders as that burdens is leveled upon his shoulders, albeit a small one. He nods, looking a bit thoughtful, "Alright, I'll see what I can come up with." Some of that is said with a wry smile at her correction of his assumption of being in charge. It seems, for all his protesting against the point with PARIAH, he did seem to gravitate towards it, consciously or not. "It…" He looks down to his coffee again, not having touched it since it was refilled. "It was good to see you again, I mean, after everything." A faint smile creeps up on his face, "I never got to thank you for being there at my Dad's funeral. It meant a lot to me and Nathan."

Hey — he's the one who asked for something to do. Sabra just supplied. The shadows return as Peter resumes speaking, changing the subject again — though this time, the smile does not entirely leave her face. It's a bittersweet expression, an old and healed-over but not vanished grief. "I would never have missed it," the elderly woman says softly. "Not for anything in the world." She lifts her gaze back to Peter, and smiles again, somewhat more warmly. "But you are most welcome."

Looking down at his coffee, Peter silently sets it back on the desk, untouched, "Is there anything else? Oh — " He grimaces slightly, "My partner, Agent Woods. He was pretty badly injured during the incident down at Dorchester Towers last week. Am I going to be temporarily reassigned, or am I on my own until he recovers?"

Tilting her head slightly, Sabra considers Peter's question for a few moments. One finger taps against the rim of her teacup. "We can assign you another partner if you feel the need," the woman begins, "or if you don't want to work with Agent Woods any longer. But you shouldn't be doing anything that requires one in the near future," she points out, giving Peter a gently pointed look. Unauthorized escapades, it seems, won't necessarily be so easily forgiven. "So you can wait, if you prefer." Apparently Sabra doesn't feel the need to attach a watchdog to the younger Petrelli at all times — but is it trust, or a test?

Again, it's not an answer Peter expects to hear. Sabra's gentle hand in the lead of the Company seems different from the manner in which things were run under Bob Bishop's authority. The idea of not being assigned a partner, on top of being charged to examine the facility security seems to conflict with the trust issues Peter had assumed the Company would have with him. "I can wait, I think it's probably best if I keep an eye on Woods anyway. After what happened at Dorchester he might have an eye for a little payback, and I'm fairly certain that isn't how things work here…" One brow raises slowly, as if to query if that really is the case.

Sabra raises a brow as Peter continues, and inclines her head. "That sounds very wise," she agrees. Which seems to confirm that 'that' isn't how things work… at least when Ms. Dalton's at the helm. Someone has to rebuild the bridges — even if only so Bob can burn them again. She smiles warmly at the youngest Petrelli, with a bit of humor added to the expression. "Is there anything else I can do for you, Peter?"

"No, no…" The young agent gives Sabra a measure of a smile, rising up from the chair with his hands tucking into his pockets. "I think this helped settle any of my nerves, actually. I'll get right on the job you assigned, see what I can come up with." There's some pride there, bout the task, even if it is somewhat menial in comparison to his ability. "Thank you…" He murmurs, "For taking me in, and for listening. If…" His brow creases for just a moment, eyes diverting to his shoes, then back up again in a blink. "If I need to talk to you again, I'll come knocking." Perhaps he wasn't sure if he wanted to, but whatever he found in that hesitant moment gave him the confidence needed to assert that.


«TO BE COMPLETED»


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October 16th: Out of the Jaws of Death
Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

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October 16th: Harlem Hoops
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