Promise Me


helena_icon.gif peter2_icon.gif

Scene Title Promise Me
Synopsis On the dawn of Miracle Day, Peter and Helena make some promises.
Date November 22, 2008

Deveaux Building - Rooftop

She got here in the early hours, just before dawn. Normally Helena doesn't need any real time to start adjusting weather phenomenon to her will, but this is the biggest working she's ever done - and in some ways, the most delicate. The manipulations must be perfect, the clouds altogether pollutant free, gathered from fronts from the ocean, perhaps reaching out some small distance.

When she first arrived, she was horrified by the state of the rooftop. It's a special place to her, and it looks utterly wrecked. For a few moments Helena just stares, fretting over what to do, and realizing there's very little, elects to go about her business - she has a miracle to work.

In the time that follows, she's found sitting on the iron wrought table that had been overturned when she found it. One knee is pulled to her chest, the other tucked to the side, her the red-gold-yellow of the sun is just beginning to peep over the horizon. Helena's expression is distant, far away. Almost like she's blissed out. She's connected.

Rattle, rattle.

It's the sound of pills in a plastic bottle. It's followed by the clink of a shell-casing rolling across the rooftop. "What… the hell…" Helena felt Peter's approach before he even made a sound, that tiny change in atmospheric pressure from his arrival was like a gunshot to her attuned environmental senses as they are extended at the moment.

She can even tell by the tone of his voice which Peter it is, even if she hadn't known he teleported here.

"Helena." Strain, worry, anxiety. She hasn't heard him sound quite this bad in some time, but it doesn't sound panicked, more so as simply put-upon. It's like those frentic days before the raid on Primatech were, when he was pulling himself too thin. It's less of a metaphor now.

His hard-soled shoes click and clack across the rooftop towards the table, but his eager approach stops short. One hand that was threatening to reach out and settle on Helena's shoulder stops just shy, fingers curling slowly against his palm. "I…" There's an awkward swallow, and Peter lowers the hand, shakily. "Helena, what's…" Eyes scan the horizon, then focus on the bullet holes in the cherub statues flanking the ring of stone, and the dried stains of blood on the brick wall below them. His jaw tenses as tightly as the back of his neck is. "Is… is everything alright?"

For a long time, Helena doesn't answer him - and it's not in characteristic of those silences he is used to, when it's clear she's thinking hard about what's going to come out of her mouth. It's more like she's in the middle of a dream, and she's having to part the veils to communicate with him. "…I don't know why it's like this." she says in a distracted tone. Her eyes slowly drag toward him, almost keep going. "It was just this way when I came here. I'm…doing something." She closes her eyes again, swallows, and re-opens them to regard him with more focus. A hand reaches out, closes fingers that are warm over his. "Everything's fine. Today's the day." The day for what?

As she's silent, and even as she speaks, Peter's eyes look over the spent shells on the floor, then to the bullet holes in the cherubs, then to the blood again. His heart sinks down into his chest, and Claude's safety is the first thing that comes to his mind. Is there no one that he hasn't completely forsaken for the Company yet?

Peter's eyes divert back to Helena at her last words, those are enough to cause him to stir into confusion. "You're…" He hesitates, rearranging his words and trying to choose them carefully. "The countdown." His eyes move from the blood to Helena, and for a moment he can feel a shift in the air around himself, standing next to her now like he is. It's been a long time since he's been able to feel the air this way, feel the changing of pressure and moisture, feel her power again.

"Helena, something's wrong." Those words come shakily out of Peter's mouth, and he steps around the table to stand in front of her, one hand hovering over her leg as if he were considering placing a hand there, but he simply can't bring himself to make the contact, as if he isn't allowed to.

On finally seeing him, Peter looks terrible. With his eyes sunken deep and surrounded by what almost looks like a pair of black eyes, it only serves the emphasize the pallor of his skin. He looks like he hasn't slept in weeks. Tightly clutched in one hand is a small bottle of advil, and from the softness of the rattling it sounds like it's almost empty. "We — I need you here, Helena. I have to — " Peter looks out to the ruins, as if looking at some strange, alien city, eyes full of confusion. "I was wrong. I was so wrong."

Helena looks confused, and then concerned when she takes in the state of him. But she says quietly, "I offered to tell you about this, and you told me it was best if I didn't tell you." Her eyes flick to down to hand that hovers over her thigh, and then the pill bottle. "It's started, hasn't it." she says. "The strain of the seperation between you?" She brings her other leg forward, shifts to the edge of the table. It brings her closer to him. "Brian told me about that. He said if his selves stay apart for two long, they begin to get sick." Then, "Tell me how I can help."

Peter lowers his head for a moment, managing a faint smile as he hears Helena speak. His eyes close, and he looks away from her — he can't beat to look at her, something in his expression shows pain whenever his eyes settle on hers. "I — I figured that's what the headaches and the nausea were about. I — I sleep, but it doesn't…" The word sleep is said with a wince.

"That's not what I'm here about." He swallows, and it seems painful. One hand begins to move out of his pocket, the one not laden with pills, "I need you to take this to Wireless." He holds out his hand, revealing a small black USB memory stick, with 8GB printed on one side. "It's everything I could take from their systems. Some of the data Mohinder gave to me, some of it I downloaded off of Doctor Knutson's computer. Half of it's in french, I don't know what most of the files are. I know some of it is about the Homeland Security…" Peter closes his eyes, brows tensing for a moment, his breath hitching in the back of his throat.

"How could they do that?" His words come out strained, through his teeth, a reaction to something unseen and unheard, as if in horror. His hand trembles, and he practically shoves the memory stick at Helena. "You have to stop them." His eyes finally meet with hers again, bloodshot and red around the edges, it's not just that he's been sleep deprived — He's been crying. "You were right, about the test about the camps about all of it. It's coming, it — it's horrible. Take it, take it, stop it." His jaw tenses as he watches her, "Don't let what I saw happen."

The fact that he won't look at her, won't touch her, gives her a sense of unhappiness that is hard to swallow. But Helena gamely pushes it aside, reaching out to take the flashdrive from Peter's fingers and tucking it securely in a pocket. "I know." she says. "I know what they're doing." She slides all the way off the table, her hands lifting to touch his face.

"Listen," she says, her focus growing more firm. "I know you have so much you need to do. I get that. But I'm looking at you right now and you are killing yourself. Whatever you're trying to accomplish, do you think you'll do it any better in the state you're in?" Her thumb traces just under one of his eyes, brushing tear tracks. "If you run yourself ragged, you won't be ready for what you need to do. I promise you, I swear, we'll stop this. But it's okay. It's okay for you to rest. You need to hear that, and what's more, you need to listen." Rueful. "You used to listen to me." The corner of her mouth tugs upward. "I'll get the info to Wireless. All of it. Sit down, and I'll tell you more about what I'm doing. You could use the rest, and I think when you hear…I think it's something you need to hear."

The touch to Peter's face causes a single tear to roll down his cheek, jaw tensing again as his eyes stay shut. It's all he can do to not flinch away, and after a moment it becomes so much easier to lean into her palm, but then, he slowly leans his face away from the touch, eyes opening to reveal an emotional and overwrought expression. "Helena, I don't know where he is. The Company is trying to hunt him down, if they find him before I do…" Peter looks away, again to the city, then back to the young woman shouldered with so much burden, and yet he keeps laying more on her.

"I saw…" His voice becomes a thin whisper, "I saw — " He's never been this frightened before, this scared sounding. "I can't stay. I — I have to warn someone else… Helena," Peter turns his face towards her hand, raising his up to settle his palm on the back of hers, fingers wrapping around to squeeze her hand in his. "I need you to be strong for me. I — I can't fight this, not until I find him. I… I think I know what he wants. Why he's doing what he's doing. I — " Peter looks to the hand again, and his squeeze seems more to affirm that Helena is real, that she's there. "We're going to beg for death…" There's a choked sound that rises in the back of Peter's throat, "Beg for the end, instead of this."

"I'm always strong for you." she says, squeezing back. But then, "I think I know where he is. At least, I know who he's with." She looks down, her hair falling in her face. "He came for me. To where my people are, and asked me to join him. In PARIAH." She looks back up. "He's with PARIAH now. And Claire."

"Claire." Peter strains out her name, his head hanging slightly as his grip on Helena's hand begins to loosen. Then, slowly, Peter's eyes rise back up to Helena. "I need you to be strong for everyone else, too." There's a moment of consideration, "Helena, you have to be careful." There's a pleading tone to his voice, "Careful with PHOENIX, careful with PARIAH. Know when to be enemies, and know when the lines have been drawn dark enough to know you're on the same side in the end…" His hand starts to shake, and his fingers slip from hers. "You and Alexander, I want you both to be careful, please." His jaw trembles, "Promise me."

"As much as I can. Today we're bringing people miracles, but tomorrow - what you've given me will help push us toward our real goals. Liberating those people, revealing what the government has done to them." Then, "Today, at 9 AM, go watch the Phoenix widget. Promise me you will. I know I can't ask much of you right now, but - Peter, I can feel you, I can feel you losing faith." She gives him a gentle smile, "So I'm going to give some of mine to you. So promise me."

There's a faint smile, and Peter nods as he listens to Helena speak. So much faith and hope, so much unshattered resolve to go on. He wants to be like her again, he wants to believe in the capacity for others to do good, to make change. He wants to feel that something is coming that is bright, a warm glow liek that sun that's rising over the nearby buildings. But that glow isn't warm, it's the dead chill of a searchlight to Peter, and the muffled din of gunfire.

"I'll watch it." Peter's voice has a weakened tone to it, "I'll be hopeful, for you." It's the most he can muster. He's tried his best to convey something, but emotions strangle words otherwise said. His smile, though fragile, is honest. "I was wrong." He whispers those words again, small and hushed, ones that come with neither a sense of guilt or dismissal, only acceptance. "I'm sorry."

"There are better words you can say to me." Helena says. How ironic, the things he longs for are things she could give him, in the most literal of senses: warmth and light in the parting of clouds and the lifting of the temperature. These things are within his grasp, but it is not time to take them. "One day you'll remember them." And that too, is a matter of faith. She studies his ragged demeanor, and how she wishes he would rest! "Go on." she says. "We'll make it better. We'll fix it."

The wish isn't lost to Peter, not when it's so vividly thought. That, perhaps more than the light of the sun creeping up over the buildings, brings that hopeful smile back to his face. Now, more so than ever, he's starting to match the appearance of his counterpart. His hair is unkempt, chin stubbly, it's just enough to give him a five o'clock shadow. "I'll rest, soon…" That much is true, at least. "Tell them I'm sorry." His eyes search hers for a moment, and his gaze is just a little too distant at the moment, too unfocused in the now. "Because…" He looks away, then steps away, head hanging. "Because I am." But she's right, he has to go on, he has someone else to convince, someone else to warn. He has to find some shred of hope in all of this.

It's neither the change in atmospheric pressure or the audible rush of air that tells Helena that Peter has teleported, not even the visible signs of him simple vanishing in a blink. It's that feeling, the feeling of knowing he's gone, and that he's far away. The one he's left her with every time he's departed since joining the Company. But this time there's something different about it. There's a very real, very small feeling that he might not be coming back this time.

Helena turns back to the cityscape. Her power has reached out, pushed and lure and sculpted and shaped the weather into what she needed - a gathering of thick clouds just over the ruins of Midtown. Within moments of Peter's departure, it starts to rain. Not the bitter, chilling rain of autumn, but something softer and more gentle, like something from spring. Something gentle and cleansing. The downpour increases cleansing what it can. It's always been that way with them; Helena providing the balm to that which has fallen apart for and by Peter Petrelli.

November 22nd: The Road Taken
Previously in this storyline…
The Healing Miracle

Next in this storyline…
Countdown to Phoenix

November 22nd: Magnum XXL
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