The Strong One


helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title The Strong One
Synopsis Peter comforts Helena when she finally breaks down after finding out about her foretold demise.
Date September 13, 2008

Condemned Tenement: Rooftop

While some parts of the roof are less structurally sound then others, someone seems to have sorted out which areas are dangerous and blocked them off. Some overhangs have been jury-rigged up to block a direct aerial view that gives definite indication of the presence of squatters - a rooftop garden, clearly meant to provide sustenance rather than aesthetic. Tubs full of dirt are situated to take best advantage of the light despite the overhangs meant to keep them from prying eyes. Tomatoes, beans, carrots, even potatoes and onions and chili peppers are carefully tended, little laminated labels indicating what each row of planting is. There's a seperate section for a small variety of herbs, and a sole small window sill style planter that houses the one concession to beauty; a row of sunflowers, and even these can be harvested for their seeds. Here and there decrepit lawn furniture has been scattered to give the illusion of abandonment; a stone bench here, an ironwork table with chairs there, one of those latticed metal fold-up chairs leaned at an awkward angle in a corner. Aside from the overhangs, the rest of the roof is open to the sky, providing a view of the city and the span of rooftops surrounding the tenement.

Helena discovered her powers at the age of 18. Since that time, she has come to learn of its nature, of the importance her own steady emotional control and how it can effect her environment. It has become a major facet in her life, and in some ways, she's thankful for it. It's given her the ability to think first and act second, to question before making a move. It lends her a maturity that many young women of 19 wouldn't necessarily have. But then she saw the painting.

It took a lot to not freak out when she saw it. Peter's presence and assurances helped to a degree, but when Eve started chastising her about her reaction or lack thereof, what little temper Helena has almost broke. She'd murmured some excuse to Peter before wandering off, throwing herself into chores until finally ending up in the garden. She's got a hiding spot tucked back behind her sunflowers that she can wedge herself into, pulling her knees to her chest and finally having herself a good shaky cry. The sky above is dark and gloomy, but has not started to rain.

Peter felt what was wrong before he even knew, that shift in the weather. By morning his powers had returned to their full strength, and with it came that intimate sense of the weather and the forces attributed to it, the connection he shares with Helena. While he was downstairs, discussing the importance of leaving the computer on at all times to Cameron, he could feel that bad sensation in the center of his chest growing. Empathy is Peter's strength, empathy that combined with being able to feel the weather tends to allow him to derive something subtle from it, espescially when the weather is influenced by emotion. He had left the meeting, making a shaky excuse about people he needed to see, and made a quick departure to the roof.

Once out in the garden, keeping the door to downstairs closed, Peter walks through the garden. His focus is, initially, up at the clouded skies. Though in time, he hears the sound of sobbing over the sound of the wind. A crushed look comes over Peter, and he for a time seems entirely uncertain of what to do. All of the power in the world, and he has nothing that can ease the pain of someone he cares about. Struggling with that, Peter begins walking over, his boots making soft sounds on the rooftop as he does. Finding the nook the crying is coming from, he crouches wordlessly, looking at Helena for a moment before settling on his knees, reaching out with both hands to lightly take a hold of her shoulder, trying to guide the girl into an embrace. He had not right to tell her not to be scared, not to cry. But she doesn't need to do it alone.

Peter's presence makes her conversely want to just pull it all in. She doesn't resent his presence, but nonetheless, she quickly wipes at her cheeks and eyes before scooting forward and permitting herself to be held. "I'll be alright." she says in a choked voice. "I just - I needed to get away." Because she's not in the habit of letting others see her breakdown. "I'll be alright." she says again. "I promise."

Peter shakes his head, wrapping his arms around Helena as he shifts further, settling on his side and just pulling the girl close. One hand moves up to rest at the back of her head, letting it rest on his shoulder. He doesn't say anything, just gently squeezes the girl in his arms, and then slowly begins to move to occupy the small space Helena was curled up, keeping his legs out to let her situate herself so she could sit across his lap. "You don't have to be," He finally says, trying to get her comfortable, "I don't expect you to be." His fingers press down into her hair, letting his fingertips lightly brush against the back of her neck, "I just didn't want you to feel you had to hide it from me, or show it alone." He leans in, pressing a kiss to her temple, eyes closed. "Let me be the strong one for now."

Helena can't help it, it brings a little smile to her face as she settles. "I didn't realize that had to be one or the other at a given time. How do we designate who's turn it is to be strong? Is there a funny hat involved?" One more wipe of the cheeks, and she's smiling, if only faintly. "Have you talked to Cameron yet about them?" No need to ask what she means by them.

Peter cracks a smile, then taps her lightly on the back of the head in a chiding manner. He turns, placing another kiss against the side of her head, then finally settles in against a double-thick piece of plywood that serves as a partition behind him. He lets Helena rest her weight against his chest, and idly rakes his fingers through her hair as he talks, "No, not yet. He's busy organizing people, he doesn't need one more thing to worry about tonight. Soon, though." Breathing in the scent of Helena's hair, Peter is quiet for a time, just content to hold the girl and be here for her.

"It's weird." she says, apropos of nothing. "If the world were normal - the way it's supposed to be, I'd - I'd be in school, I guess. College. I have no idea what for. It all seems so far away. I remember reading books about resistance fighters in World War Two, and now I'm wondering if this is what it was like for them."

There's a momentary look of confusion that dawns on Peter as he listens to Helena, one hand lightly raking through her hair as he holds her. The girl's words catch his curiosity, and as he listens there's a thoughtful nod that serves as a response. "I don't know," He says quietly, "Maybe some day, people will be asking the same questions about us. What it was like to be alive now." His words are spoken into her hair, resting his nose and mouth down against the top of her head, felt just as they are heard. Then, finally, his curiosity spurs him to question, "College, you said?" His grows quiet for a moment, "You know, in all of this, I never thought to wonder how old you are. What, twenty-three, twenty-four?"

Oh, dear. "Nineteen." she says. "How's it feel to be a cradle robber, Petrelli?" She gives him a grin, but there's a little bit of worry there, like he's going to drop her on the ground like she's a too young hot potato.

There's a momentary choking sound, Peter's brows both raising as he leans back to look down at Helena, "That's not funny," He says with a crooked smile, shaking his head and giving the back of hers another tap. Then, as she doesn't break out laughing in an awkward manner along side of him, Peter looks at her with an intent, curious expression. "Y-you…" The corner of his mouth creeps up into an awkward smile all his own, "Wow, okay." He looks down, thinking to himself, this all clearly blindsided him. "You're… really mature, you know, for your age. I…" He laughs, shaking his head and squeezes the girl a bit tighter. "Guess you don't mind being robbed," He says quietly, pressing his nose to her cheek with a laugh.

"Any time you want me to break out the pinafore and the mary janes, you just let me know." she tells him, and bursts into laughter. "I had to grow up fast." she says mildly, and then, "Does it bother you?"

Peter joins her in laughing, giving the girl another reassuring squeeze. At her question, he shakes his head, "No, not really. Love happens," Peter says thoughtfully, "You don't get to choose how or when. Charles told me once, that it's all anyone really needs." He looks from Helena, out to the city skyline, then back again. "I'm pretty sure he was right." His head comes to rest down against hers again, and then after a moment asks in return, "Does it bother you?"

Helena shakes her head firmly. "Nope." she says. "The only thing I mind is the grief I'm going to get from Claire and Cam." She sobers. "The thing she said about my just wanting to get into your pants…it really bugged me. I don't want anyone to think that I'm neglecting what we're doing here because of you."

Peter rolls his eyes, then nods, "That's going to be sooner rather than later," He admits, "Eve picked it up pretty quick, we're going to have to deal with that eventually." Closing his eyes, Peter takes some time to think about the next comment, shaking his head as he does. "I don't think she meant it in a serious way. Claire…" He hesitates, "She says things she doesn't mean, when she feels hurt. I don't know, we never really were close, but…" He lets that drop, the suggestion of what he means — odd as it is — is left lingering. "I don't think anyone will think that of you, or me. I'll let you know if they do start thinking that, though." He raises his brows, cracking a teasing smile.

Helena lets out a laugh. "Oh yeah, you can do that, can't you. You going to be in my head all the time? It's going to be hard to censor myself. If there are any tricks to keeping you out of my head, maybe I should figure them out." More seriously, "Eve's a buttinsky. And I don't know if Claire sees you two as not being very close. Maybe not like this, but…obviously she feels connected to you."

"Feeling and being are kind've different things." Peter says quietly, "We may not have had time to bond, but there is something there. She's probably the only family I care about anymore." He laughs for a moment, "I told her I loved her, because I do, and she seemed surprised. I guess she's not used to people speaking their feelings, but she's the only family I've got left. I have to appreciate that." As he speaks, Peter shifts his weight around, getting comfortable again. "As for me being in your head," Peter raises one brow, "You don't have to worry. Unless you invite me in, I stay out. I won't ever take your privacy away like that, I don't want to." He leans forward, resting his head against hers again. "I respect you far too much."

"Ok, so my 'Peter has a nice ass' mantra won't become necessary, that's good to know." Helena says with a snicker. Then, "Claire's really the only family you have left? What happened to the rest?"

"They made their choices." Peter's voice takes a notable turn towards sour, "Now they've got to live with them." He looks down and away, momentarially sinking into sour and less favorable thoughts. But with a squeeze of his arms he shakes his head, pulling himself out of it by mrit of what he has to be happy about sitting with him. "You sure you're alright?" He leans back a little, brushing one hand over her cheek, letting his thumb stroke gently across Helena's lips, "You don't have to keep how you feel from me…"

"I know what that's like." she agrees. But she's curious as to how his family may have been written off. She doesn't push it for the moment. His thumb can feel the curve of her smile. "I can't say I won't have moments." she admits, "But I think I can manage being functional. And useful." She curls her fingers, runs them through his hair. "I'm glad you're here."

Peter smiles, at first with a sense of understanding between the two, then simple happiness. He nods as he listens, hearing the young woman's strength, feeling her fingers rake through his hair, and then he nods in agreement to her, "I'm glad you're here too, I don't think I'd have the heart to go through all of this without you." His smile grows, "You make this a fight worth fighting." His eyes close and he leans his chin up, lightly pressing his lips to hers. A brief, gentle brush before pulling them away, speaking softly, letting his words be felt in his breaths, "I mean it."

It's the first time he's kissed her really, of his own accord. She smiles when their lips pull apart and replies simply, "I know." Up above, the gloom begins to slowly clear away, some of the stars becoming visible despite New York's pollution haze.

"Confident." Peter says with a laugh, leaning in again to let his lips come to rest against Helena's, pulling his arms around her and holding her close, reassuringly, protectively. Even as the skies clear up above the hazy New York skyline, a heavier and more oppressive cloud is lifted from Peter, in the happiness that he has found here the shroud of anger that threatens to smother him alive is pulled back, to reveal the person he almost forgot he was. Holding Helena in his arms, Peter closes his eyes, letting his forehead come to rest against hers, eyes drifting closed in the comfort that she repsents. "You're going to be okay," He whispers, "I won't let it happen." He knows her fear, and it is the least he can do to keep her from it as long as he can.

Helena looks him dead in the eye. "I won't let it happen." she says, her force of will evident in her voice. "I just don't want to be kept from necessary risk because of what might happen." There's a pause. "That made sense in my head."

Grinning, Peter moves one hand down to her side, lightly pinching before leaning in to steal another kiss, "You're adoreable when you're tough." He feigns a wince, expecting to be smacked for pretending to not take her seriously. With one eye closed, he cracks a smile. "Lena," He seems to have taken a liking to that shortening of her name, "I don't doubt you for a minute." Peter watches her in an admiring way, he had told the truth when he said she seemed more mature to him. "But don't forget I'm here too, we won't let it happen." He gives her a gentle squeeze, "Together."

September 13th: Calm Before the Storm
Previously in this storyline…
Calm Before the Storm

Next in this storyline…

September 13th: Point of No Return
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