A Burden And A Gift


helena_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title A Burden And A Gift
Synopsis Helena is tempted to share her burden of knowledge, but offers Teo a gift instead. That turns out to be a burden of its own.
Date May 15, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Cat's Penthouse

It had been ridiculously late by the time Helena and her people made it back to the Village Renaissance Building, but before Helena could think about sleep, she had Cat call Teo and let him know that they were all back. It wouldn't surprise if Teo came over right away, but she still takes the time to nap in one of Cat's spare rooms. That's what she's doing when Teo arrives, and where he's directed to go get her.

The elevator dings him in, but the door cedes to the card key with relative quiet. His tread falls quiet, too, despite remaining still shod. In Teo's mind, homes and safehouses are two categories unalike, and the manners long since inculcated by his mother did not account for musty borrowed spaces like these. "Helena?" His knuckles rap the door gently, and his shadow drops blurred across the carpet. His eyes go bigger in his head than seeing an old friend ordinarily warrants, but there's been very little that was ordinary about the past few months.

Helena wakes up with a sudden start and an intake of breath as she sits up. Pushing her hair out of her face, she almost stumbles getting out of bed, and opens the door hastily, only to stop and stare at Teo a moment, wide-eyed. And then wordlessly she flings her arms around him, in the sort of hug that would require him to lift her a bit to give that extra inertia someplace else to go.

It's given the somewhere to go. She's caught, hauled up against the breadth of his chest and shoulders, and Teo's arms lock neatly around the narrowing bole of her waist, squeeze until the air of her arrives in either a gust of warmth or a squeak. "Buona sera," he whispers. "Were you sleeping? I'm sorry to disturb, I just—" abandoned the snug of his boyfriend's sleeping corpus, spat in curfew's eye, was going to crap his shorts if he didn't see her. Teo fails to find the words.

"No, no. It's so good to see you. It's so good to see you." Not that the Teo of the future wasn't deeply welcomed, but this is her time and place, and this is her Teo, looking younger, before all the darkness she saw before came into his eyes. What makes it her home in this time and place is in fact, the people. "It's okay, I'd rather be woken up. It's you…" she draws him into the bedroom, leaves the door cracked. "You're not going to believe where - when I've been."

She's right. Not to be embarrassing or anything, but that certainly isn't darkness blinking out of Teo's eyes. Fortunate that he's made out of stern stuff, or there would be less of anything and more of embarrassment. He's pulled in, trampling gracelessly along her wake. Alots himself a space on the floor adjacent to wherever she seats herself, his face upturned, one corner of his mouth too. "I landed in fucking Botswana, with Sylar. Funny coincidence, if no laughing matter until after the fucking fact. What happened to you? I heard— it was you, Trask and Jesse."

"Not just us." Helena insists. "Five others, including your aunt. We got - there's no way to say this in a way that won't sound ludicrous, but we got gestalted ahead into a possible future. By ten years. The eight of us, we've seen a possible future." Her hands curl momentarily into fists. "Some of it I can share, some of it I can't, no matter how much I want to. I'm afraid of the burden it will put on people. There's more. I brought some things back."

His aunt. Teo straightens, his shoulders going rigid around right angles. Lucrezia. He watches Helena with something more watchful for the next beat and the protracted one after, his breath caught between his teeth, in case that keyword comes up and chastisement. The Vanguard. When it doesn't, he's left with his brow furrowed. "Ten years," he says, because it's the kind of thing that bears repeating. "Most of us got flipped off only a few hours. It was Hell getting everybody back, and when it was you three left, I just…"

He doesn't want to say gave up, because he hadn't, not exactly. "Left it to God.

"A—ll right." Teo understands that secrets must be kept. If anyone would understand that, he would, even after the revelation of the Midtown Man. He recognizes that look on her fair-skinned face and appreciates its origin. "'Things? T-shirt with a loveable catchphrase silkscreened across the front?'"

"My friend went to the future, and all she brought back was this lousy t-shirt?" Helena grins wryly. "No, not quite." She beckons him over to sit on the bed with her. It's not a topic she feels like she can discuss with him at her feet. "Have you ever thought about what it might be like if you had an ability?" she asks him quietly.

Reluctant, for no other reason than because he is silly that way, Teo gets up to sit on the bed. Though occasionally described as 'that skinny Italian kid' around Staten Island, he's much heavier than her: the mattress creaks and skews into a V shape underneath him, and he leans his elbows on his knees, eyes her sidelong with a certain canine nervousness, the look of a thing that's been knocked around a little too much by the world and its increasingly inventive weapons. Her question comes out of the blue.

Strapped to a rocket. His eyes close and open again in surprise. Twice. Three times, with a creased squeeze in the middle. "Nnnno. Not… I mean, I guess everybody considers flying when they're stuck in traffic. Or telekinetically getting beer from the fridge when you're through and there's no commerc— I'm not sure what you're getting at, signorina."

"In the future I experienced, there was a way that anyone who wanted an ability could get one." Helena says, keeping some distance between herself and him for a moment, but much more comfortable with them being on a somewhat equal footing in the course of their conversation, physical position wise. "A formula, a serum developed by Pinehearst." She pitches her body to lean over the side of the bed, to drag worn satchel out from under it and bring it on top with her. She sets it down and opens the flap to dig inside. In her palm are three vials, full of fluid. "Synthetic Evolved. There's no way to tell what your ability would be, but if you want - one of these doses, I'll give it to you. It's not a statement about what you bring to the table, Teo - it's - it's a thank you. I hope you don't see it as anything else. If you want it."

The vials fail entirely to jump up and knock his eyes out of his head when Teo subjects them to an unblinking stare. He glances up at Helena again, watches her face move around words until she gets to thank you, and then they fall again, his brow knitting under the heavy weight of thought. There isn't a trace of doubt on his face, that she means it when she says that. Thank you. Slowly, he drops a long forefinger and a thumb through the air, closes them around the base of one vial and its cap.

Clasping it firmly, he lifts the drug up to the light, studying the level of the meniscus inside. There's a sharp outflow of breath through his teeth, a haphazard smile flared toward the end. Presently, he says, "Huh."

"Yeah." she says. "It's okay if you don't want it - but if you do…" she trails off. If he does, she'll give it to him. "Anyway. Think about it." she says, adding, "That's just the tip of the iceberg. That future - it's a mixed bag in ways like you just can't imagine. And I'm scared to burden too many people with what could happen, because already the details between then and now have changed. The Moab raid failed, but I was stuck there for at least another year in that timeline, and that's just the start." She hesitates. "I'll tell you what I can, but I don't want you to take the weight of some of what I know could become true."

In 2019, you can get the entire conception of your whole soul and being revised with a syringe. Or— okay, maybe that's a little more dramatic and existentially overinvolved than how any of the scientists who fomented this drug envisioned, but Teo's done a lot of thinking about his mutant friends since he chose this life over the comfortable hoodies and dog-eared tomes of his college career, and that's always been what their gifts meant to him.

So he's thinking about it, for now. "I'll think about it," Teo says. "Talk about it with my— uhh. My— boyfriend. Who you need to meet, because he's joined up.

"But it seems like we have more'n enough fucking cans of worms to fork through for now, so." He motions with a hand, dismissing his various and sundry concerns for a later time. "I sure as fuck hope you have news on Case and Edward Ray; seems like the lot of you have seen some of the same scenery." The future is imminent. Palming the vial, he pockets it and hunkers low to listen.

Helena ahh's. "Actually," she says, holding out her hand. "I'd rather hang onto it until you make up your mind. I need to keep them accounted for." But other than that, she starts to talk. Things Helena leaves out: The Columbia 14, his son - his and other people's personal lives, such as they were. But there are other details she shares, involving the fugitives from the future, the fall of the Company, the state of Evolved legislation involving registration and Frontline, he gets that, and then some. And of course, Pinehearst. As to Edward Ray and Case - the only things at this moment she has to report is that there are future versions running amok.

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