Bump In The Night

Participants:

munin_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Bump In The Night
Synopsis One Boogeyman is traded for another, as Peter catches up to Munin.
Date November 14, 2008

Condemned Tenement: Abandoned Apartment

This apartment looks to have been left untended for years. It's a modest sized studio apartment, opening up from the doorway to both sides, painted a faded canary-yellow color, most of the paint peeling away in large spots. An old, ratty couch rests just across from the door, patched up with pieces of denim over the worn and faded fabric. The cushions look to have seen much abuse, and though they're repaired to some extend by re-stiching, they are still unevenly stuffed. In front of the couch, between it and the far wall is a lopsided coffee table. It's frame is metal, likely was once glass-topped as well, but the entire top of the table has been replaced by a sheet of particle-board with a plastic tarp thrown over it and held in place by heavy-duty staples. The four windows that line the wall opposite of the doorway are all busted out, two of them are boarded up, and all but one is covered with clear plastic that is stapled to the window frame.

Not far from the entrance, a small kitchenette rests in disrepair. The stove doesn't look to have been used in a long time, and with a portion of the ceiling having collapsed down onto it, for good reason. While the debris is neatly stacked — pieces of plaster, wood and sheet-rock stacked a foot high — it clearly seems to be hastily done. The L-shaped counter adjacent to the stove features a mini-fridge that isn't plugged in, and water-stains on the faux-marble countertop.

Beyond the kitchenette is what was likely the apartment's bedroom. A pair of matresses have been laid on the floor, with a folding screen placed between that area and the kitchenette. The screen looks newer and in better condition than the room, though portions of it are scuffed and torn. The bed is made with not only sheets, but also a heavy brick-red quilt that looks to have been hand-made. A small, uncomfortable looking pillow crowns off the arrangement. From the looks of it, no one lives here.


Some people are afraid of the dark. Others, like Munin, learn to embrace it. Pitch black is an old friend of hers, going all the way back to when she was a little girl curled up in a fetal position on the floor of her mother's closet, knees drawn into her chest and fingers tangled in her hair. She finds peace in the shadows of the abandoned apartment, deep within the tenement's crumbling bowels, deaf to the distant rumble of traffic and the wind whistling through the cracks in the building's patchwork exterior. Sheets of rain crack loudly against the window, but even this is faint in comparison to the sound she's chosen to focus on.

The beating of her own heart.

Lulling her mind and body into similar states of complacency over the last few hours has been difficult, but now that she's figured out the best way to regulate the pattern of her breathing, she finds herself in that hazy twilight between sleep and wakefulness, too tired to actually fall asleep and too numb to feel much of anything except for vague, fuzzy sensations deep down in the pit of her stomach every time something goes bump in the night.

Bump.

It's a gentle sound, a soft and cold sound of glass coming to rest on wood. In the darkness, something settled down on the plywood-topped table near the old, worn out sofa. Then, as if on cue, the room is light by flickering light like that of a torch. Standing directly across from where Munin lays is the very man who battered Felix Ivanov against a stone wall without a second thought. With his shoulders resting against the space of wall between the windows, he has one hand raised, a single finger alight with a tongue of flame that sheds a warm golden glow over the derelict apartment. The temperature rises some, subtly, a natural feeling warmth spreading through the otherwise cold room, enough to cause a little steam to fog up the windows.

"There's some irony in this." Peter's voice is far more calm than it was on the streets in the ruins, "I used to live here." The clunk over by the table sounds off again, two bottles of beer standing side by side, dripping with as much water as Peter is, the rain slicking his hair back more than it usually is, dripping off of his long leather coat. He didn't make so much as a sound coming in. Or even open the door.

At first, Munin isn't sure if she's slipped into a dream or if what she's experiencing is real. It takes her a moment or two to rouse herself into a sitting position, the palms of her hands flat on the mattress, legs folded under the lower half of her body. When she does, her gaze drifts from Peter to the window and the back again, though the bewildered expression on her pale face does not change. Looking around the room fails to provide an explanation for the man's sudden and unannounced appearance, and so she decides — if only for the sake of her sanity — to ignore it for now.

As she swallows back her fear, the lump in her throat visibly contracts. Either Sylar is playing a very cruel trick, or this is the real deal. "I find that hard to believe," she replies in a low whisper. If what he says is true, then why would Gray take her here of all places? Wouldn't he, of all people, know better? "What do you want?"

Both of the bottles float up from the table, one makes a hissing pop as the cat flips off and strikes the floor, rolling to a stop against the mattresses. "Whatever, I'm not here to convince you." The room falls back into darkness as the flame on his fingertip fades away. He leans off of the wall, boots making thumping footsteps on the wood as he snatches the bottle out of midair, taking a liberal sip of it as the other bottle repeats the same process of uncapping, and comes to settle on the floor in front of the mattresses, as if some sort of alcoholic peace offering. "I want Sylar, it's pretty simple."

There's a flick of fire in the kitchenette, as a row of candles are lit in the small window above the sink, a few more sparking to life on the table by the sofa. Peter walks meanderingly through the kitchenette, silent. He runs one hand across the countertop, trailing a single finger through the dust until he pulls up a small tuft on his fingertip, then flicks it off into the air. "He and I have a bit of a score to settle, and if you know where he is…" Peter stops his wandering, water pooling at his feet as he turns to look over his shoulder. "I want to know too."

Munin looks down at the bottle on the floor but does not move her hands from the mattress. Her fingers curl, nails digging into the fabric as Peter speaks, and she shifts her weight forward, causing the springs to creak beneath her weight. "Yes," she agrees, "you do. But I were you, I'd put off any score-settling for as long as I could." It's just as well that she doesn't know where Sylar is; even though she wouldn't tell Peter if did, her ignorance allows her to speak more boldly than she might under different circumstances, lending strength to her voice and credence to its tone. "You killed the federal agent. Ivanov. And he isn't the only one. Hundreds. Thousands. You blamed it all on him."

Peter's eyes snap back to Munin, head tilting to the side, "Ivanov's alive." He snipes, "He's a whole lot more useful to me that way. I'm not the serial killer here." She's pushed a button, one that causes Peter to quickly down the rest of his beer, sending the bottle to the side with a violent crash as it shatters in the sink. "You don't know what you're talking about either." The temperature begins to drop, cooling gradually as each heavy footfall sends Peter closer to the bed.

"Sylar is a psychopathic murderer. He killed countless people in some sick search for power. He tried to kill someone close to me, so I went in to put a stop to that." Fingers curl closed against Peter's palm, then open again. "He killed a man, Ted Sprague. He could make atomic fire from his hands…" Raising one hand, Peter demonstrates with a crackling snap as a sphere of nuclear energy surges above one palm, then snaps out of existence with a crackling blast. "Sylar was going to destroy everyone, and everything with that power. I was trying to stop him." There's a snarl, and Peter's irises glow orange for a moment.

He straightens, drawing in a sharp breath through his nose, trying to rein in his anger. "Sylar is a monster and if he hasn't killed you yet, it's only because you're useful to him." There's another flex of his hand, fingers curling and uncurling slowly. "I lost control, it was an accident." He barks out those words, taking another step closer to the bed, "My brother is the one who blamed it on Sylar. Not me." Then, after a moment, "Blame me all you want. I have to live with what I did. Now tell me how you know Sylar."

"An accident?" Munin breathes, rising to an incredulous pitch. "You call what happened here an accident? All that life, snuffed out in an instant? Just because you couldn't control yourself?" Now she does reach up, using her fingers to brush the stray strands of away from her eyes so her view of Peter is no longer obscured by dark curls. "If you were half the man he is, you'd step forward, take responsibility — tell everyone the truth. This city doesn't deserve anything less." She can't deny that Sylar is keeping her alive because he deems her useful. If there's any fondness between them, it only goes one way, and the falter in her rebuke makes this painfully obvious. She squares her shoulders and straightens her back, drawing herself up as high as she can without climbing to her feet. "I'm not going to tell you anything," she says, "not about Sylar, not about anyone else."

The color drains away from Peter's face, breathing growing shallow as he listens to Munin speak. His eyes narrow, and then as her voice begins to raise, his irises gleam that brilliant orange hue again. The temperature continues to drop, enough where Peter's breath is visible, and frost begins to form on the windows. To her credit, though, Munin doesn't need to rise to her feet. Peter does that motion for her with a flick up one hand, ripping her up from the bed and slamming her against the wall beside the bed.

"Maybe you're right." His boots thump across the hardwood floor, and in one violent push the mattresses are thrown aside, smashing into the kitchenette and sending the candles toppling to the ground, some landing atop the box-spring. "Maybe I'm only half the man he is…" There's a crook of his lips that indicates some unspoken irony, "But if I am, I'm the bad half." The pressure wraps tightly around Munin's throat, squeezing as he whirls her around the room and into the wall between the windows.

Turning, only Peter's burning irises are left to gleam in the darkness, smoke wells up in the air as the candles toppled over on the box-spring catch the old and dry fabric alight. "I think I'm going to leave Sylar a message." Shades or orange and red swirl behind Peter's eyes, and he holds one hand out, and then looks to the table, snapping all four legs off and sending it flying, leaving the broken slivers or wood hovering in the air, his gaze turning back towards the young girl. "One he won't misunderstand."

Munin glowers darkly at Peter from beneath her lashes, shoulders heaving with exertion as she fights to breathe. It's natural to be scared, but it's also natural to be angry. One emotion outweighs the other right now, and the pain in her limbs — both old and new — is partially responsible for the low, snarling growl bubbling up in her throat. "He won't care," she grits out through her teeth, jaw clenched so tightly that a thin line of blood trickles out from the corner of her mouth. "He won't care, and you'll have killed someone for nothing." As the smoke from the fire fills her nostrils, she lets out a series of hoarse coughs before inhaling sharply through her mouth, then spitting out a pinkish glob of saliva in retaliation. "Go ahead. Raze this place to the ground. That's what you do, isn't it?"

Peter's eyes remain locked on Munin's, lips slowly upturning into a crooked and sarcastic smile as his eyes look the girl up and down slowly, "That's a shame." Punctuation to his sentence comes in the form of two of the sharpened skewers of wood streaking through the air, whipping like bullets towards the young girl. They strike at the same time, punching through the sheet rock at either side of her head, a hair's bredth away from her ears. His lips downturn into a frown, breathing draws in slow and shakily as he lowers her to the ground with one hand.

"…I'm not Sylar." Peter proclaims with his eyes narrowing, tightening at their corners as he exhales a slow, calming breath. His eyes refocus, shifting towards the mattress and with a wave of his hand the flames subside. He looks back to Munin, the glow of his irises cooling slowly. "Maybe when he finally decides to turn on you, when his curiosity gets th ebest of him, and he splits your head open and rips your brain out… Maybe then you'll regret protecting him."

The room darkens as the candles that weren't snuffed out fade down into darkness. Peter takes a few steps backwards, his own form growing dark and indistinct as he physically begins to blend into the shadows around himself, watching Munin in the dark with umbral senses. "No matter how bad you think I am… Sylar is worse." His voice distorts, grows deeper and then fades away entirely as he sinks into the shadows, turning to but a discorporated whisper.

"He's the Boogeyman. Not me."

Munin's feet touch the floor first, followed by her knees and then the knuckles of her hands. Doubled over, shoulders hunched and neck bent, she dry heaves for several minutes after Peter's voice has drifted away into nothingness. If it weren't for the smell of smoke lingering in the room, the broken bottle in the sink or the pieces of wood stuck through the wall, she might be able to pass the encounter off as a bad dream or a hallucination brought on by the stress of the last few weeks.

It's really too bad that she can't. When she's sure Peter is gone and the walls aren't going to tumble down around her, the first thing she does is move to the sink and start picking out the beer-soaked shards of glass with her fingertips so she can use it as a basin with which to bathe herself. She was able to weasel out of providing Kazimir with an explanation for her last encounter with Peter Petrelli — unless she washes away the evidence now, before somebody else from the Vanguard comes back to check on her, she'll doubts she'll be as nearly as lucky.


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November 14th: The Right Choice
Previously in this storyline…
Give it Another Go

Next in this storyline…
Which Peter Was It?

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November 14th: Some Courtesy, Some Sympathy, and Some Taste
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