I Think I'm Paranoid

Participants:

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Appearing via the Miracle of Cell Phone…

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Scene Title I Think I'm Paranoid
Synopsis You can look, but you can't touch. I don't think I like you much. Heaven knows what a girl can do. Heaven knows what you've got to prove. Peter tracks down Odessa and the two prove to one another why they should both be watching their backs.
Date November 19, 2008

Central Park - Belvedere Castle

Constructed from the same stone as the Vista Point which supports it, Belvedere Castle seems to rise out of the earth itself. The miniature Gothic castle is easily visible from a distance, courtesy of both its height and the American flag fluttering from the turret's pinnacle. Its windows overlook views of Turtle Pond, the Delacorte Theater, and the Great Lawn. The interior, however, is anything but Gothic; the halls on both floors are filled with telescopes, microscopes, paper-mache birds, skeletons, and feathers, all laid out as parts of an interactive exhibit. In the Henry Luce Nature Observatory, visitors can borrow binoculars, notepads, maps, and guidebooks with which to study the wildlife of the park.


It's difficult to see the graffiti and fading and decomposing campaign posters littered about Belvedere Castle, but that doesn't stop a curious blonde girl from studying them by the offerings of pale slivers of moonlight. Odessa's been here once before, it's true, but her visit had to be cut tragically short. And it's much nicer without people around. And it's also nicer to get out of Ethan's home for a while. She's sure there's a good reason why she isn't supposed to be out at night by herself - she really probably shouldn't be out by herself at all - but she certainly doesn't care to hear any of it at the moment. She's got a million different arguments when it comes to her own safety, and how she's the best one to assure it. She smiles to herself as she turns her gaze to the sky and the stars. She's always loved the sky. Her fingers stretch upward as though she could capture the moon in her small, leather-gloved hands for even just a moment. The long skirt of her grey wool dress swishes around her as she twirls a brief dance step in her new heels, shimmering fabric material like an emerald. She hums tunelessly as she returns her gaze to her surroundings, careful not to trip on anything as she wanders. Deftly, her fingers work at the buttons of her new coat, starting from the bottom and releasing each one in turn until she gets to the one at her throat. She pauses to brush bubble gum-coloured nails over the healing flesh there in a gesture that's become thoughtless rather than dismayed.

"What's up, Doc?" Down very quickly becomes up as Odessa Knutson finds herself launched up into the air, pinned there by unseen hands. The voice that echoes around the confines of the old stone structure has no body to which it is attached to. The disembodied voice continues, followed by the sound of footsteps with no feet to make them. "Funny, I didn't think you got to go out for walks." Odessa is tossed through the air, rotating upside down before being hurled towards one of the two foot wide wooden posts that hold up the pavilion roof. She slams up against it, not hard enough to hurt her, but hard enough to make a point.

"Since I've got your attention," Peter has never been this way, never been this violent, or this antagonistic, "I've got a few questions I want to ask you about." The air ripples and bends, warping until the heat-haze of distorted light falls away from Peter like a man surfacing from water. He looks so different, so much angrier. His dark hair, slicked back atop his head and the rough stubble and untrimmed goatee on his face, the long leather jacket, and that furious look in his eyes. "I take it you've got time to talk, Doc?"

Odessa shrieks as she's lifted off the ground, and again as she's sent flying. She groans loudly when she smacks against the pillar, breath knocked from her lungs in shock. Her eyes are wide and filled with fear, and fixed on Peter Petrelli as he appears.

And then, it's her turn to disappear. From behind him, the doctor's voice mutters, "That's not him." She's backpedaling quickly. When he turns to look at her, she's considerably paler than she was moments before, sweat at her brow as though she's just exerted some Herculean effort.

There's an immediate blink of his eyes, and Peter wheels around with a frustrated and confused expression, "Tricky." Two fingers cast to the side, this time more violently, and the girl is thrown down onto her backside, then a punch of his forefingers and Peter finds the gentle nature slipping away as he stalks forward towards Odessa, head cocked to one side. "Not what I would have guessed, but I was lacking teleportation lately." He squeezes his fingers closed a bit more, clamping down further on that already injured throat.

Once he's finally made his way over, one booted foot is raised and placed down on Odessa's chest, and the telekinetic stranglehold eases up, "I need two things, and for your sake you better have one of them." His eyes momentarily dart away, looking beyond the pillars of the pavilion and around the Castle before settling back down on her. "You came alone?" Peter presses his foot down a little harder on her chest, briefly, "Good. Good…" His head cocks to one side, "I need to know where Sylar is, or Peter." What? "Either one will work."

"That's more like it!" Odessa growls as she's sent sprawling once more. But the fear returns to her features, replacing the spirit of the competition she was engrossed in. She tries to pry at the intangible fingers closing around her throat, and then at the very real boot pressing down on her chest. "I don't know anything!" She gasps for air, her face screwing up as the boot digs in a bit more. "Please, I swear!"

"Right." Peter scowls, pressing his foot down a little harder for a moment, both hands coming to rest at his hips. "You just happened to walk right out of the Company's care? I know you made a deal with that half-wit to get sprung. So I want to know where he's hiding now that he busted you out…" Peter raises his foot, then stomps down on the girl's chest, this time striving to make it hurt with a twist of his ankle. "Because there's no way that both him and Sylar haven't noticed you wandering around. When one of my little friends spotted you down here in the park, I flew right over to make with proper introductions." There's a pause, and Peter cracks a smile, "I forgot to introduce them, how rude."

The sound of rustling wings fills the air as black-feathered birds swoop down from the roof of the pavilion and through the air to land nearby. Black eyes gleam in the dark, and beaks open to release a flood of cawing sounds. "They're hungry, it seems…" One hand comes down to brush along Odessa's cheek, a single finger lightly tugging at her lower eyelid, "You're sure you don't know where one of them is?"

The boot coming down on her chest hard knocks the air from her lungs a second time, angry and pained tears pricking at the corners of her eyes and sliding to touch Peter's finger when he reaches out to her. "Go to hell," Odessa whispers. "I escaped on my own. You've seen what I can do. Do you think I needed Peter's help?" She shudders and eyes the growing flock of birds nervously. "Who are you?"

Peter grinds his heel down into Odessa's chest, head tilting to the side, "Wrong answer." Peter raises one hand and the birds descend in, flapping wings and shrieking cries of the ravens filling the air as they swarm in and around Odessa. They dive down at the young woman, talons scratching at her cheeks and across her brow, for the moment their assault seems entirely superficial, glancing blows and loud, shrieking calls that serve as just enough to show intention. One bird snaps its beak close to Odessa's right eye, then plucks at her brow enough to split the skin there, causing a thin line of blood to roll down across her temple.

"I'm Peter Petrelli." He explains with one broad gesture of one arm, settling his hands back down on his hips as he leans in to look at Odessa, "The genuine article, not that half-wit knockoff." There's a momentary scowl, and Peter's head tilts to the side, the birds dispersing at the gesture. "Now, you're going to tell me where I can find Sylar or Peter, or I'm going to take a nice, long look inside of that pretty little head of yours."

Odessa lies perfectly still when it's over, whimpering. She closes her eyes tightly and only once she's sure they've stopped does she begin trembling again, voice shaky. "I- I- I- can c- call Sylar. J- Just let me reach into my p- pocket for my m- m- m- m- mobile." Her eyes open again slowly, fixed on that terrible face that she used to trust and even feel some affection toward. She sucks down a few deep breaths, willing the stutter out of her before she speaks again. "He won't talk to you if I don't talk to him first."

"Do you think I'm going to buy that? You and your little friends tried to make me go away!" Peter snarls out, stamping his foot down again on Odessa's chest, "I know what kind of lies you like to spit out! You captured me, just when I had Sylar in my hands, and you ripped through my mind to try and wipe me out!" His perception of what actually happened seems a bit slanted towards outside sources, less so than internal conflict.

"Did you really think I was just going to lie there, dormant in the back of the mind of that little puppet you built? Now carefully," Peter's irises flash a hot golden color rimmed with red, "reach into your jacket," his arms reach out, hands beginning to glow as the bones in his fingers shine white-hot through his skin, "and get your phone." Sickening warmth radiates out from his palms as coronas of blue-tinged orange crackle and surge out from his skin. "Or I'll give you a front-row demonstration of just what go to hell really means." Then, his booted foot slowly rises up off of her chest. "And if this is a trick, Doc…" Peter cracks a smile, "I'm going to get very upset."

Panic has settled in full force now. Odessa has the look of a woman who knows she's in trouble. Possibly even knows that she's been bested. When it was Sylar, those tricks didn't frighten her. Sylar wants something — her ability. Peter couldn't care less about her ability. He doesn't have to keep her intact to take it. She rolls onto her side very, very slowly once his foot has come up off of her chest. "Oh, gosh," she hisses in pain. Her ribs are certainly bruised and she doesn't doubt that they could be cracked as well. Slowly, so very, very slowly, and gingerly, she reaches down into her coat pocket and procures a shiny, new, disposable mobile phone. The doctor holds it up for him to see first. No tricks. Just a phone. Then she brings her trembling fingers to the key pad to dial a number she knows by heart. And it starts ringing.

Two ring tones precisely go by, and you can imagine that Sylar might be one of those people that answer their phone at particular intervals. But he reliably picks up, a distracted and tinny sounding, "Hello?" emitting from Odessa's phone. It's quiet around that voice otherwise, no sounds of cars or people.

Peter straightens up, head tilted to one side and eyes following Odessa's crawling movements. He lets her roll onto her side, hands still glowing with that radiant atomic fire. The birds back away, hopping with flaps of their wings to form a wide circle around the two beneath the pavilion. A thin smile creeps up on Peter's lips, and as he hears the sound of a voice pick up on the other side, there's a crackling snap as his hands dim and cool. Peter reaches out with one hand, and the cell phone is torn from Odessa's grasp and rockets through the air to slap against Peter's palm. Another hand moves, rolling Odessa onto her back again violently as he begins to take long strides back towards her.

"Hey there…" He calmly croons into the phone, "Did you get my message I left you?" Once back by Odessa, Peter raises his foot to step down on her shoulder, gradually harder and harder, he wants her to scream. Scream for Sylar.

"Gabriel," is all Odessa manages to get out before the phone is torn from her hands, both held out in front of her with fingers splayed. She's fast. Unnaturally so even despite her injuries. But then she's right on her back again, pinned by the ability he stole from the man on the phone, and she can't stop what comes. A scream, shrill and breaking, tears from the woman's throat. She sets her jaw after her throat is sore, teeth clenched tightly to quell the instinct to cry out again. Furious tears mingle with the blood on her face.

There's a short silence, even before the scream erupts, a moment afterwards… and then a dark chuckle thrums through the phone. "Yes Peter, I got your message," Sylar murmurs, his own tone a sort of croon. "Nice work. Killing millions of people in one bright beautiful go's really given you a little freedom. Power corrupts. How's it feel?"

There's a scowl, immediate and distracting, enough that he forgets about pinning down Odessa with anything other than his foot. "I meant your little bird girl." There's a pause, and Peter pulls his foot off of Odessa, and turns away from her entirely. He's got what he wants now, "That was your fault, Sylar. So, where've you been hiding. I'm ready for round two." There's a rough, steely harshness to his voice. "You got lucky last time, and I'm not going to make the same mistake, I'm thinking clearly now."

He turns to look over at the birds, sending two of them off on an unspoken errand, black wings spreading and soaring off into the cold dark of night. "I shouldn't have let the bird girl go. Momentary lapse of judgment. I think it's about time you learn what it feels like, to be helpless and watch when the people around you die one by one." There's a crooked, almost twisted smile, "I'm going to find Gillian, Sylar. Already got my little winged friends on it. When I do, I'm going to split her head open for you, and I'm going to let you know exactly what it's like." What kind've monster is lurking behind the countenance of Peter Petrelli?

"But first," His lips twist into a smirk, "I think it's about time the doctor checks out, don't you?" With that smirking arrogance, Peter finally starts to turn back towards where he had left Odessa lying on the ground…

More telling silence down Sylar's end of the line. The beauty of faceless conversation, however, because that's like the best hint of disturbance from his end. Faintly, the sound of foot steps begin - Sylar is on the move around the point Peter speaks of winged friends. "You want to hurt me, Peter?" he asks, his voice the epitome of ice despite Peter's words. "You want to punish me? Then you should know better. Friends come and go - mostly by my hand. If you want to hurt me, you'll have to do it with fire and brimstone."

The sound of a door opens, shuts, and the outside environment adds ambience and surrounds another chuckle down the phone. "It was nice knowing the good doctor. Have fun, Peter - make sure she screams extra loud for me."

When Peter turns back, she's right where he left her. Just… not how he left her. Odessa's back on her feet and grinning from ear to ear. "Oh," she muses, "you really shouldn't have let me go." She rolls her shoulders with only a fraction of a wince, fingers flexing slowly at her sides. "The doctor is in!"

Breath hitching in his throat for a moment, Peter cranes his head to one side, a single dark brow raising. He flips the phone closed, and drops it to the flagstone floor to bounce off of the PHOENIX graffiti underfoot. "You know, I really want to know what you can do." The once frowning expression of Peter Petrelli creeps back up into a smile as his hands begin to glow brightly with a surge of atomic fire, the bones in his hands shedding flickering orange illumination. As he raises his hands, Peter breathes in deeply, then exhales a slow and relaxed breath as wisps of fire begin to rise up around his shoulders, then trail down his arms like cascading water. As the flames of his pyrokinesis meet the undulating bands of atomic light, his irises begin to glow, a bright orange-white like hot-forged iron.

"So, Doc," Peter's coat billows around in the thermal wind generated by as much heat as he is putting off. The spray-painted mural beneath his feet begins to brown, then bubble and blacken, "Just how fast are you?" One hand quickly flings outwards, launching a lashing whip-like tongue of flame manipulated and propelled by telekinesis. The crackling lash snaps where Odessa was standing, but the blonde haired Doctor is already gone in a blur, whipping around behind Peter. Dark eyes ringed with golden glow widen as Peter flails one arm out, sending a roaring lash of flame over Odessa's head as she ducks down, flame singing trailing locks of hair as everything feels to be moving in slow-motion, watching her blonde bangs bush past her eyes, a staccato flickering of blonde-blue-blonde-blue, and Peter's gaze meets with hers for what feels like forever.

"Please," Odessa scoffs bravely. "That trick's been tried on me already." She dodges easily, as though she knows what Peter's about to do before he does it. "We're not so different, you and I," she muses as she takes a few steps back. "We've both been seen as these cute little puppies, afraid to show our teeth unless we're backed into a corner." She smiles with a faux saccharine sweetness. "But we aren't puppies at all, are we?" The doctor's eyes light up, glimmering in the energy and feiry glow Peter supplies thanks to his borrowed abilities. "I don't know about you, cutie pie, but I'm…" she pauses for a moment, trying to find the right words. She tips her head back, even with the blood and scratches on her face, or maybe because of them, she looks dangerous in her happiness. She's enjoying this.

"I'm the Wicked Queen."

There's a scoff at Odessa's words, "This isn't a game." The flames blow back off of Peter's body with a loud woosh, sending sparkling embers railing away from him like feathers caught in the wind. He throws one hand forward, once more launching a telekinetic grasp towards the blonde girl, but this time she isn't playing coy. She whips to the side in a blur, like jumpy frames of an old horror movie, flickering to the side with distorted motions.

Peter snarls, snapping his head to the side with a fiery glow of his eyes. The atomic fire soon subsides as well, a crackling sputter of energy, then immediately followed by Peter shutting his eyes as his hands glow brightly and then explode in a flare of light not heat, intense and blinding illumination. "Are you faster than light?" He snarls out, and then dumps the radioactive energy into smoking wisps that coil like thin ribbons around his fingertips. "Or maybe you're afraid of the dark?" Contrasting to the sudden and radiant flare, the world is sunken into shadows. It's so much like Wu-Long's ability, save that sound still carries. It is just an instantaneous rolling blackness that floods the pavilion in impenetrable shadow, and the growling sound of Peter's voice. "I can hear you thinking, Odessa…"

"Oh shi—" The woman's arms come up to shield her arms from the light as soon as she realizes what he's doing. But there's no way to penetrate the dark, her voice echoing about the pavilion as she screams. "You little mongrel!" The stream of thoughts pouring from Odessa's mind are little more than a creative flow of expletives strung together. He may be unable to see her, but he can hear her movements - short, intermittent clicking of heels on cobblestones, first in one location, and then in another entirely. "Playtime is over!"

"Yes," Peter intones gravely, "It is." The darkness begins to decay and fade, indistinct shapes starting to come to illumination as Peter focuses on a power far more intimate to him. The moment he shifts his focus away from the darkness, his mind lunges out towards Odessa's presence of thought, focusing inward towards her consciousness, Odessa. Peter's voice echoes deep in the back of the young woman's mind, hollow and spiteful.

The darkness continues to fall, like tumbling curtains of black velvet pulling away to reveal the lights of the park in the distance, and the pale glow of the moonlight. Odessa, why don't you stop fighting. An order, strong and forceful, and as the last wisps of darkness fall, Peter stands with one hand held out towards Doctor Knutson, palm up and fingers splayed, as if inviting her towards him, a wicked smile on his lips.

Odessa shrieks and covers her ears, stumbling back as though the psychic invasion were a physical blow. "No! Stop!" Terrified eyes fix on Peter and his outstretched hand. Whispering this time, "No." She trembles, quaking hands and fingers slowly sliding back to her sides, "You're no better than he is."

"I'm much better than he is…" Peter cracks a slow smile, lowering his hand as he walks across the blackened and charred mural of PHOENIX towards Odessa. He stops, just in arm's reach, and raises one hand to brush fingers across her cheek lightly, keeping his mind engaged into hers. Fingers curl behind her ear, and she is lifted ever so gently towards Peter as he leans down in towards Odessa. There is a brief, momentary brush of his breath over her cheek, and his mouth comes down to settle by her ear. In the prickling cold of the night, Peter's breath is warm as he exhales his words in a whisper to her, "I'm going to find out…" His nose lightly presses into her hair, and his fingers move, curling into the hair at the back of her head, "…how you do, what you do."

Then, the intrusion is made deeper, more forceful. Peter's mind extends down into Odessa's, no longer suggestion, but searching, digging and clawing at her memories and thoughts in some feverish attempt to discover how she does exactly what it is she does, and what that secret of hers is. "You'll show me, Odessa…" His whispers a bit more coarsely now, leaning back to trace the fingers of his free hand over her brow, "Or… I might feel compelled…" He walks his fingers like a tiny person across her brow, imitating skipping steps with two fingers, "…to see what he sees."

The way he touches her makes her stomach churn, but Odessa can't summon enough willpower to break away. His mind holds her still, her fear holds her captive. But the moment he attempts to delve deeper into her head and steal her gift from her, everything changes. Peter doesn't hear the shots ring out, but he can feel the barrel of the gun pressed against his chest and the bullets that have pierced his skin, his organs. The blood blossoms from three wounds in his chest. How's that for show and tell? He may regenerate it - he will - but it's enough for now. Before he can really react, he finds himself on his back, pinned by Odessa's heel over his throat. With each skip and jump, her thoughts cease, leaving only silence in both their minds. "I know you'll simply get better, but I would take so much satisfaction in crushing your trachea." There's no blur this time. One moment her shoe is over his neck, the next the stiletto is poised just over the man's eye. "I wonder if you'd survive if I put my heel through your eye socket?" Nobody touches me. Ever.

It all happens so fast, the unexpected release of gunfire and bullets, the feeling of them pushing out back the way they came through his chest. The pain. By the time he's on his back he still feels like he should be on his feet, he feels the pressure of her heel down on his throat, feels the bullets working their way back up through the fractures of his ribs, feels them push out through the holes in his shirt and roll down into his jacket. He breathes, wetly, and his eyes focus up towards Odessa as her heel hovers over his eye. "You…" He whispers hoarsely, "..forgot about…" A gurgle pops between his words, and a trickle of blood runs down his cheek, "…about the birds."

Immediately on Peter's words, the dozens of ravens that had been present around the pavilion let out shrieking cries with a single, weak mental command. Feed. Flurries of black matching the dark of night rush towards Odessa, claws wildly scraping and beaks pecking, a frenzied attack by the avians.

"No," Odessa responds with a smile, letting her heel settle back on the cobblestones, "I didn't." She turns her eyes to the sky on Peter's unspoken command to his flock. They do take flight and fly toward the woman attacking their master, but suddenly they freeze, suspended in flight. Doctor Knutson lifts one foot and pivots on the other so she can stand to one side of the fallen man, rather than keep a foot at either shoulder. But there's a flicker of something in her eyes. Her confidence is waning. No. No! Not yet. Not now. I need this— She steps back once, twice, and then turns her back as she breaks out into an all out run away from Peter, prone as he is.

Confusion washes over Peter's face as Odessa freezes the birds in place, his mouth opens slowly, and his eyes follow Odessa, watching in abject confusion as her expression falters, her thoughts project a lack of confidence, and she immediately darts away from the pavilion. Peter exhales a slow, tired breath and lets his head fall back against the stone, eyes closing for a moment as a thin smile curls up on his lips, "Time? Funny…" His dark brown eyes slowly fall to watch Odessa's retreating form, "…Now I can beat him."

With those words, Peter shifts his focus from the avian telepathy, the birds are useless at the moment. Instead, his body billows and fades, becoming something ephemeral and smoke-like as his body sinks down into the flagstone tiles of the pavilion like a ghost.

He'll give her this victory. Besides, he has to go find Gillian and make good on his threat.


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November 19th: Hypothetically
Previously in this storyline…
A Promise is a Promise

Next in this storyline…
Hunches and Speculations

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November 19th: The Count of Three
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