Knock Knock Knocking on Peyton's Door


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Scene Title Knock Knock Knocking on Peyton's Door
Synopsis … leads to catching up on the various dangers faced on differing sides of the globe.
Date January 21, 2010

Peyton's Upper West Side Apartment

Knock knock knocking on Peyton's door.

Knock knock knocking on Peyton's door.

Knock knock knocking on Peyton's door.

This is what Cat is doing at about 10:00 this Thursday morning in New York City. There's been no call ahead to announce she was coming, no attempt to warn whatsoever. She just showed up and applied knuckles to the portal three times in quick succession. And having done so the jeans, athletic shoes, Yale hoodie, and winter coat wearing panmnesiac waits for the barrier to swing open.

Ten o'clock? Who comes knocking at ten o'clock? No one who knows her well! Peyton is newly up, though at least she has a coffee cup in hand, so she wasn't woken by the door. She's in a pair of pink flannel pajama bottoms with little green frogs and red lipstick marks all over them, a random frog here and there wearing a little gold crown. The tank top she wears with it is the same grass-green hue as the frog, with a gold crown across the chest. Peyton blinks for a moment at the woman on the doorstep and then gasps. "Cat! You're back!" She thinks quickly enough to put the coffee cup down on a nearby valet table, then flings her arms around the other woman. "Come in, come in." She steps out of the way, letting Cat in and into the living room beyond the entry way.

She isn't found singing that tune when the door opens, though she may well have been thinking it. Cat's musical mind recognizes the match in number of syllables, and she was knocking at her door, after all. The woman's face shows a slight smile at the attire Peyton is found in, perhaps part of a calculated plan to both ensure she'd be home for the visit, and to catch her in sleeping wear, Miss Whitney not being one she'd expect to be up at this hour.

"Yes," she intones, "I am." A step forward is taken, and arms go around the matching height female in response to being embraced. And after it's ended, she enters more fully. Even closes the door behind her. "So I thought I'd come say good morning."

"I'm so glad you guys are back," Peyton says earnestly, though there's a slight twitch of her lips that suggest she's thinking of one of them who did not come back with the rest. "Can I get you some coffee? Cereal? We might have some bagels," she offers, picking up her own mug and nodding in toward the living room. There's a blanket on the couch, suggesting someone fell asleep there, as well as what looks like a video baby monitor that shows an empty bedroom.

"Coffee's good," the less young one replies. "Thank you. I'm happy to be back myself." Eyes turn toward the living area and the monitor, the blanket, but Cat doesn't speak of them. "You've been well, Peyton?" she instead inquires.

"Sugar? Cream? Pink, blue, yellow fake stuff?" Peyton's well stocked, as she heads into the kitchen to pour the cup of coffee. "Well is relative, I guess. I just got a cast off my foot yesterday. But I'm all right, I guess." There is a lot not right but she isn't going to dwell on the negative when the positive is that those on their mission have returned — well, most of them — and succeeded in their mission. "Are you okay? I know people went through a lot. Horrible things." She hands the cup of coffee to Cat, her dark eyes somber.

"A cast?" This causes some degree of concern. Such a thing didn't exist in mid-November. Damn. "I'm a survivor," Cat quietly provides in turning to the question asked of her, as fingers accept the cup. Her own eyes, making contact with Peyton's, show hints of reaction from memory of things witnessed but as usual she doesn't let on much overtly. "There was a mission that had to be carried out. My end didn't contain the same danger and hardship as some others, but it wasn't a picnic either."

"At the end, there was loss, as there always is. Acts of extreme courage." Her mind holds comparisons of Cardinal and Francois with Conrad Wozniak and ConEd. Danielle Hamilton's image also surfaces in the mind's eye, memories of all those every bit as fresh as if they were in her presence just five minutes before.

Being Cat, however, she retains her poise. Eyes may hint at things seen, but she won't allow herself to display more.

Peyton moves toward the couch and takes a seat. "Liz told me… Cardinal died…" she looks up and into the left corner of the room as she blinks, trying not to cry. "But she didn't say what happened, and I didn't want to ask." The latter is in a small voice, uncertain, before her dark eyes seek Cat's for a moment. The two could be sisters, though very different in so many ways.

"He didn't make it back," she quietly allows. Despite her reserve, Cat seems open to being leaned upon. A seat is also taken, the cup placed on a table. "I can't really go into details, but I can say he performed an act of supreme courage. Doing what had to be done, and perhaps being the only person present who could." She isn't about to spill the story. It wouldn't do at all to risk Peyton having a visit from a tall, dark, bald guy called Rene or worse.

Eye contact confirms sincerity in the words, hinting again at things under the projected stoicism.

Peyton nods and glances back down, a couple of tears spilling from beneath dark lashes. She holds the somber pose a moment, before her hands brush her cheeks and she looks back up. "Thanks for telling me. I'm glad it … mattered." She sighs and brings her feet onto the couch to curl beneath her. It's a chilly day and even with the heat on, there's a bite in the air. "Thank you all for doing what had to be done."

Not seeming bothered by cold, Cat continues to study the face. "It did," she allows quietly. Feet remain uncurled, they cross at the ankles. "No need to thank us," Cat replies dryly, "I'm happy enough with friends not being sent to prison for heroism, like happened a year ago."

"So I come back to read that the Giants tanked, the Jets are soaring, the Patriots crashed and burned, and the Dallas Cowboys are on vacation. That's reason enough to celebrate," she tacks on with a brief smile showing. "How did you manage to need a cast? I should really introduce you to Flint Deckard sometime."

Peyton laughs at the football talk and just gives a shrug. She has no idea who's in the playoffs and who isn't. "Um. Do you know Mack — Gabe — at all?" she asks, meaning Gabriel McNamara. "Some old friends of his decided to shoot him when I was with him, and I went screaming and running for cover and took my foot out in a pot hole. Midtown — it's like a land mine of potholes, you know?" She tries to keep it light, rather than dwell on the trauma of the night. "Flint Deckard?" Peyton echoes, tilting her head curiously.

"I don't know him yet," Cat replies, suggesting interest in changing the answer. Especially if his presence gets Peyton shot at. That just isn't good. "It's good to see you weren't shot too," she allows. "Old friends…" That gets a dose of speculation, but isn't asked about.

Because she's moving on to Flint.

"His thing is healing, but he won't always do it," she informs. "Older guy, greyish hair, looks like he's had a rough life. He's grumpy a lot, surly really. But he can make injuries go away."

"That's a good ability to have. Well, maybe. Does it hurt him, to take people's injuries? I wouldn't want him to hurt on my account," the once-selfish former socialite says. "It was just a broken ankle. I'm fine. Mack got shot the hell up but he's a regenerator." There's a little anger in her voice, on that count. "They didn't really want me. I just happened to be in the way. And this other guy - he got hurt, but he was all right too. Luckily he has a power, or he might be dead."

"It tires him out, eating right is an issue, but he doesn't actually take them into himself. More like he makes them just cease to be there." Cat reply is easily given, used to mask the interest raised by Mack being a regenerator. Another one of those. Her mind tangents, wondering if that guy is 600 years old. Or will someday be.

After a few moments she snaps out of it. "That's good to hear," she allows. "I didn't just come to you about business, of course, Peyton," Cat segues, "but there is some business. I was told of some entity that invades dreams, and I'm starting to gather data. It seems to target people at random, and has preferences for people with the SLC and Refrain users. Have you heard of anyone experiencing such invasions?"

Peyton nods, frowning a little at the mention. "Yeah. We had quite the slumber parties going on here before Christmas, when Wendy was staying here, and my roommate Aaron too. You might have heard of him, he used to be kinda big in the local music scene. Aaron Michaels, his band was the Lightbringers," she says in an aside. "We all had had dreams… Wendy, Aaron, and me. Wendy and I — we almost got hurt because of them. Her friend Logan too. All of us — we could have died or something. If Aaron hadn't saved me…"

There is a nod to the baby monitor and a shivery sigh. "Anyway, Wendy came and crashed here for a few nights, and we slept in shifts. I heard through the grapevine a little about it — to try to tell yourself you're dreaming, or to confront it and stuff. I haven't had one for a bit."

"It tried to make Helena walk off a roof too," Cat shares. "She told me some things, like there's a network forming to oppose it and help others do the same. Doorways created to let people enter dreams for the purpose, and some guidelines. The resistance, I'm told, is part force of will and part patronus. It's all Jungian, really."

"So I spent some time yesterday reading his work, and commentary on it. From what I was told, the Nightmare Man's goal is to manipulate and warp. To drag out the darkest parts of a person and try to make her or him commit suicide. It stages a battle between the shadow and the avatar, or patronus."

If anyone can make Peyton feel uneducated, it's Cat, of course, and she's lost with words such as patronus and Jungian. She gets Avatar, thanks to a certain movie, however! The poor girl never even read Harry Potter, so anti-books was she as a youth. "Well, it did that. I almost … Aaron caught me with a knife to my wrist," she says, furrowing her brows. "So I'm just supposed to know I'm in a dream, and fight it, if he comes back?"

Does she know she makes Peyton feel uneducated? Maybe, maybe not. If Cat does, she might not mind so much. It's a common enough thing when one never forgets, after all. She could very well be hoping it'll inspire her to become educated. In any case, without seeming pedantic (or trying not to) she proceeds to lay it all out the way Helena explained it to her, word for word. Helena gets it, so Cat estimates Peyton will also.

When she's done her coffee cup is listed and sipped from.

"Okay," Peyton says skeptically. "I'm hoping it's done… I've really been trying to be a better person, so maybe he'll leave me alone. I only did Refrain once, too, but I almost died for it. God. I'll have to tell Wendy that." She didn't know the connection. "Thanks for letting me know, Cat. I'm really glad you all are back."

"You're stronger than you give yourself credit for, Peyton," Cat quietly asserts as she again tastes of the coffee. She believes it. Maybe someday, just like the goal of restoring the Constitution and other things, Cat will see Peyton believe it too.

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