Because Of You

Participants:

helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Because Of You
Synopsis In the darkness of their prison cells, Peter and Helena talk about blame and consequence. Not all ripples are bad.
Date February 7, 2009

Moab Facility


In the days that followed the trio's last conversation in the yard, Helena showed improvement. Her initial lack of eating was perhaps a certain dispiritedness or initial defiance, but to observant eyes in the administration, she has begun to accept her fate. She eats - as much as they will allow her, in fact - and she is a model prisoner, doing what she's told to do, remaining docile for her morning injections. Some of the color and strength has come back to her, though she still isn't the creature Peter knew when he first met her.

It's the nights that are the hardest. As angry as she is at him, solitude in her cell can grow to unbearable levels, even after she's earned priveleges like being permitted books. They're no good when the lights turn out anyway. She has to talk to someone. It's on one of these nights, after the lights are out and it's so dark she can't even see her own fingers in front of her face, that she turns to face the wall, presses her palm flat against its coolness.

"Peter," she whispers. "Are you awake?"

Helena's voice echoes off of the walls of her cell. Moonlight spilling thorugh the narrow window that overlooks the yard outside in a slender column of blue-white light. Her words linger in the air for a long time, just an awkward silence to indicate that he probably went to sleep hours — "Yeah. Yeah… I'm awake." That metallic echo of his voice through the vents proves that thought wrong. But aside from confirmation of his difficulty getting to sleep at night, Peter isn't very talkative — perhaps it's their last encounter that still has him a bit humbled.

"I've been thinking." There's a pause, almost the means by which one could make a joke, if this were a circumstance less sobering. "On my way - when they brought me in, I saw more cells. I mean, there the others, and then there were a bunch of empty cells, and then they put me here, next to you. Why do you think they seperated you? Why do you think they put me with you? Is it coincidence?"

Again, Peter's voice doesn't immediately answer, but there's a faint sound of a sigh that carries through the vents before he does. "Probably. I don't know…" After the next few moments of silence go by, Peter's voice sounds closer, or at least clearer. "I should be lower than this floor, down on Yellow Level or — somewhere. Nathan, I think, he made sure I didn't get put in the dark." There's no thanks in his tone of voice, no appreciation. "I don't know why you're here, Helena… Maybe this place is a really clean, really orderly hell, and this is my punishment."

Oddly, this brings a smile to her face, faint and ironic. "I'm here because I got caught. But we did what we needed to do, and New York is still there, and…" she trails off. "I don't think it is, you know." she murmurs. "I mean, here, you can hide. You don't have to face what you destroyed, or look in the eyes of the people who lost loved ones. This isn't a punishment." Her tone is perhaps surprisingly, not angry, or accusatory. It's sad, and it's pitying. "It's an escape."

"Whatever…" Is the response that immediately comes through the vents, quick to be given. There isn't another reply, just that tired sigh again. For a few minutes theres's nothing but silence from his side of the wall, then just more sharp words. "I didn't want to be here. I'm here because — I don't know. Because Gillian and Eve are idiots." Sharper words than she's used to hearing him use, "Because they teleported in to my cell, and it got me sent here. I'm here because I confessed, like everyone wanted me to do. I came clean. And no one knows." A snort, loud and frustrated, "But it's better than being out there — making things worse.//"

There's a long pause at that. "I never wanted you to." she says finally. She shakes her head. "Abby wouldn't have killed Kazimir if not for Gillian. And Eve saved my life." The admission is grudging, but it's there. "Kazimir had taken over Sylar, he had some kind of ability to create lasers and he fired at me. Eve seemed to come from nowhere and knocked me out of the way." Her head lifts, the hand not pressed to the wall supporting her skull. "You made some bad choices." she says. "And I know they are all you can see, because it's easy to look back and see how everything went wrong. But you did a lot of things right too, and they wouldn't have happened either if you hadn't been there."

"What did I ever do that was right?" Peter asks, defensively, "When did I ever do anything that didn't get someone hurt, or make the situation worse than it already was?" His tone sharpens, getting more angry, but it's hard to tell where that anger is directed. "I saved Claire. A lot of good that did — I turned her into a violent, heartless person. If I had just let Sylar kill me back at Mohinder's apartment, if I had just — " He hisses an strained sound, "Maybe none of this would have ever happened.//"

And again, that long pause. She reverts to old habits, the ones she had when they spent nights at the old tenement. "Claire has been traveling that path for some time, Peter. You couldn't stop it, and neither could I. I didn't even want to acknowledge it was happening, right in front of me." She sits up in the dark now, leaning against the wall. "When you first came to us, when Cameron was alive - you convinced him to give us more purpose, and you convinced him to turn away from violence. You convinced me that I could lead, even if I made mistakes, even if I lost people, you made me believe I could hold it together. Kazimir Volken's plan would have gone forward regardless of whether or not we'd have ever met, but because of you, I was ready to do what needed to be done, to convince others to do it. Not all of your ripples are bad, Peter. It's just hard for you to see them. I wouldn't change who I've become, who I needed to become, because of you."

How can he respond to that? Simple, he doesn't. There's a truth in those words that Peter hadn't considered, but when he tries to analyze it, tries to pick it apart and peel back the layers of kidness to see what's beneath, he can't help but focus on the negative side of things. "What good did it do in the end?" The bitterness there is so profound, "We made so much noise, and then we freed a pack of crazy murderers who still haven't been caught. We let Adam Monroe get out, and God knows what he's up to." There's a long, drawn out pause, "He was the one who knew about the virus, if we hadn't let him out of Primatech — Maybe none of this would have happened. When you get down to it — " His voice cuts out for a second, "When you really get down to it. This is all my fault."

She knows what he's doing, and has learned enough to realize that pointing out his self-convincing tactic isn't the way to make him see. But he's still missing a crucial element. "Listen to me." she says firmly. "Do you know how long Kazimir Volken had been alive? There were records going back to the 1930's, and speculation that he'd been around a lot longer. And he had everything - money, personnel, equipnent - he'd been planning this for years. They already had a viral strain they'd developed, and in the end, it wasn't Adam Monroe who helped them, it was a woman - a Doctor Odessa Knutson." There's a pause. "She helped them kidnap Cat and Dani, too." She shakes her head. "My point is, this would have happened anyway. It's no more your fault then Dani's death is mine."

That makes everything in his head collapse like a house of cards, "Cat… was kidnapped?" His voice loses all of its vitrol, "W-Wait, Odessa?" Again he seems befuddled, but Odessa's name-drop gives him more to go on than the shadowy reference of something unfortunate happening to Cat. "I — The other Peter, he knew her. She — She was — Odessa was a sweet… There's no way. She — " Peter's voice hitches, a faint groan-like sound slipping from him, "I remember her. I — God what did I do to her? I — Oh God." Sometimes there are things worth forgetting, it seems as though Peter found one of them tucked away in his scrambled mind.

Helena seems surprised. She thought she told him this, back when he was imprisoned in New York. "You didn't do anything!" she says, her whisper raised slightly in volume. "We got ahold of Eileen, and Ethan retaliated by kidnapping Cat and Dani. We exchange Eileen for Cat, but not before he cut off some of Dani's fingers. And as he did it, he told me it was my fault because I wasn't following his rules. He tried to get us to turn over…someone important, someone crucial, and when we refused, he killed Dani. But this Dr. Knutson was identified as one of his assistants when they initially took them, and as the one who turned Shanti over to Volken. I don't think she was quite as sweet as you thought she was." She frowns. "Not everything is your fault. And some things became better because of you." Softer. "If everything you touch becomes shit, what does that make me?"

"I did. You — You don't know what I did when I was split up. I — I tried to kill Odessa to get to Sylar. I — God, I did horrible things, Helena. Horrible…" His voice grows soft in the vents, eventually trailing off to just a faint ring with that metal ping to it. He just grows quiet again, silenced by Helena's words and his own withering reactions to them. Because it's that last bit she said, those last few words that truly bite at him and take away what little venom he had left.

What does that make her?

He can't come up with an answer.

Twice now she's left him speechless, but then that's always been par for the course, her lessons in how to make a Petrelli speechless, oh yes. She knows the truth, that to make everything so much dust in his hands is easier than acknowledging the best of what he'd done. It felt so small in comparison after all, perhaps even made the wrongs so much worse.

Her reply is soft, still. "I know. I know what you did to Eileen. And what you did to Gillian. Did you know - " she shakes her head, "Did you know how she feels about Sylar?"

"Gillian or Odessa?" That reply doesn't come immediately, but when it does there's a bit of a shock to it. Peter doesn't leave enough time for an answer to his question though, "I had an idea — yeah. There's just that way. I tried to warn her, about what he is — who he is. It's her call to listen, or not. It's her life, her hurt. I can't — //" Peter bites off what he was about to say, revising it in mid-sentence, "I won't take care of anyone anymore. I just can't. I can't even take cre of myself — let people screw up their own lives.//"

That's a Peter Petrelli motto if ever there was one.

"Taking care of people is your calling." Helena says, with the serenity of the condemned. She leans back in her bed, staring up into the dark, and goes silent for a time. She's not asleep - there's an intuitive sense of that, until finally, "You've given up. I don't know why, as much as you've told me, I mean, my brain, it hears what you say, but I keep feeling - " she shakes her head, which of course, she can't here. "I wish I could." she says at last. "I wish I could give up on you. I'm an idiot for not." Isn't she?

It's hard to say, and his response is equally so, "I…" There's a faint, bitter laugh, "I guess we both are, then. Aren't we?"

Peter doesn't speak after that realization, sarcastic or not. Maybe Helena rendered him speechless again, maybe he just didn't have more to say. But whatever the case, it's obvious that it's going to take more than a day to give him a ray of hope. Because right now, all of the worst futures are coming true.

And all she has left is,

"Good night, Peter."


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February 7th: Ba Ba
Previously in this storyline…
No Going Back

Next in this storyline…
Present Company Excluded

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February 7th: Frenemies
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