A Change in the Air


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Scene Title A Change in the Air
Synopsis Peter approaches PARIAH with a proposition.
Date September 4, 2008

Deveaux Building — Rooftop

Once again, Peter stands at the edge of the roof of the Deveaux building. Bathed in the light of the evening sun shining through the jagged and broken western skyline, this place is a play of long and dark shadows against fiery orange light. Overhead, the clear skies are strewn with wisps of thin clouds in shades of pink and orange against a deep blue-purple sky. This place is becoming his perch, from which he can view from one side the devastation of midtown and the still smoldering crater that was once the heart of his home, and the heart of all of his ambitions and hopes. From the other side of the building the still thriving districts can be seen through the shattered framework of the adjacent buildings. It is a sharply contrasting view, with the Deveaux building serving as the way-point between the past and the future. It also serves as a fitting place for the meeting Peter called, a place of significant importance to him, and a place that had seen a similar event play out decades earlier.

With his hands on the edge of the stone rail, Peter stands just to the side of an ornate piece of architecture on the rooftop, a round ring of plaster and stone flanked on either side by a pair of small cherubs — one coincidentally looking ahead towards the ruins, and one facing the rooftop and looking out beyond it to the rest of New York. The wind whips across the roof, playing with the unbuttoned and long leather jacket the lone occupant on the rooftop wears. He watches the city below, a thoughtful and distant expression in his eyes.

The sound of glass crunching underfoot crackles through the cool evening air, and a moment later Cameron Spalding steps out onto the rooftop. Like Peter, he's wearing a long coat fashioned from a thick material meant to withstand the elements. Beneath that is a ballistic vest with what looks like a long sleeved shirt and a pair of concealed shoulder holsters, each cradling a TT33 Tokarev pistol — gifts from one of his Russian contact overseas.

He isn't alone, either. Meeting Peter unarmed would almost be as foolish as meeting him unaccompanied. "A little bird told me that you wanted to talk," he says to the other mans back, the scorn as clear in his voice as the contempt in his eyes. "So let's talk. What do you want?"

Daniel follows along quietly, looking quite cool and collected, intense, direct. He's wearing an air canister at his belt, with a firefighter's mask attached to it, the mask around his neck, but not on his face just at the moment. He keeps his arms folded. He keeps his mouth shut.

It's like one of those 'The Right Stuff' walks with the astronauts all lined up looking cool. At the other side of Cameron is Helena. She is also wearing terrorist chic, a long coat and a newsie cap shoved down under her loose blonde hair. The main concession to flash a little personality is the embroidered teddybear sewn onto the calf of her jeans like the remnant of an unfortunate Joss Whedon show costume, though with the cap, one could easily add 'meets unfortunately French based musical waif' to that. Despite the solemnity of the moment, she's smiling, and even gives Peter a discreet little waggle of her fingers.

Looking about as unamused as her fearless leader, Claire brings up the rear, emerging onto the rooftop after the other PARIAH members. Claire doesn't bother greeting Peter, though she's there to see him. But that's the extent of it for her. She's there to see him. Not necessarily speak to him after he left her feeling so horrible in the wake of their reunion.

She's in the area, across the street from that building, in fact. Cat's come to check out the address she heard mentioned for a meeting. She doesn't, however, know exactly where it is, and on seeing the size of the Deveaux Building at 210 Central Park West she has no clue where to even start looking inside. So the brunette of five feet and eight inches opts to simply keep watch and speculate. Rock is intriguing to her, but so is that man who nearly bumped into her and caused things to not work properly.

The perceptive, should they look down toward the street, may observe her in the act of observing.

"Glad to see you showed," Peter turns from where he leans against the railing, looking back towards the demolished framework of the greenhouse that encases the entrance to the rooftop; nothing more than a bent wreck of twisted metal and broken glass. The roof is covered with debris, most of it wood from pigeon coops once kept up here, a tangled mess of chicken-wire fencing stretched between some of the dusty and broken pieces of wood. "I was starting to think you didn't get the message." Sliding his hands into the pockets of his slacks, Peter surveys the small group accompanying Cameron; his eyes lingering on Claire for a time. He looked surprised to see her here, and for all of the tough exterior he was trying to project, there was a moment of softness that spread across his perpetually furrowed brow. When he sees Helena, a brief smile threatens to show on his face, carefully hidden again.

"I've been doing some thinking, since we first met." Peter's eyes flick over to Cameron, "I've been meeting members of your group, people I dismissed at first," Peter's gaze shifts over to Helena for a moment, then back to Cameron, "But after meeting them, I started to realize something…" The scarred man's voice trails off, and he begins pacing across the rooftop, the debris in front of him slowly sliding away before he sets foot on them without any physical contact. "Last night, I finally realized what I've been struggling to figure out for a long time." With his back now to Cameron and the others, Peter looks over his shoulder, "I want to ask you a question — all of you." He turns, standing side-long now to the four visitors, "Do you all believe in this?" One hand slides out of his pocket, motioning around vaguely in the air, "In what you're doing, in fighting the cause? That it's going to make a difference? In…" Peter looks down at his feet, "Do you believe?" He both simplifies and complicates the question, and then slowly looks up again from the rooftop to the group gathered.

Daniel just nods, his chin dipping into the mask, obscuring his expression as he does so, he feels no need to explain further to Peter, or perhaps to anyone. As lookout, he is carefully scanning the streets and alleys, windows and adjacent rooftops, and so it is not by talent or keen wits that he spots Cat, but by caution and by diligence. "Company." he remarks quietly. "But not an approach." He indicates subtly in her direction with a single fingertip.

Helena smiles across the way at Peter, though it's slightly wry. "I already told you," she says with good humor as she shakes her head. "I don't do this because I lost my mother. I do this because no one else should have to. But if you need to hear the words, then yes, I believe. Not blindly, not stupidly, and maybe not even fanatically, but I do." By the time this statement is finished, Helena's expression has graduated into something more serious, but still warm. She's probably the most visibly upbeat person on the roof right now, go figure. As Daniel mentions the possibility of being watched, she looks sidelong to Cam. "You want cover, fearless leader?"

You don't get as far as Cameron has without having an eye for detail. It takes a conscious effort to keep the expression on his face as neutral as possible when he catches Peter's gaze roving. The muscles in his hand clench, fingers curling into a white-knuckled fist. He doesn't like the way that he's looking at Helena, so it's probably a good thing that his eyes don't linger any longer than necessary; Cameron isn't usually the type of person to lose his temper, but when he does it can be explosive.


"What the hell do you think, Petrelli? That we just like to blow shit up because we don't have anything better to do?" Anything else he might have said is cut abruptly short as Daniel alerts them to Cat's position. There's little point, at least in Cameron's eyes, in explaining any further. Helena has put it more eloquently than he could. "Keep an eye on her, Daniel. Does she look like she's armed?"

"Cameron," Claire strides quickly up behind him, tone gentle but warning. She rests a hand against his shoulder. She follows Daniel's indication and steps vaguely between Cat's position and Cameron. Her stature may be small, but she makes up for every inch lacking in height with (no, not platform shoes) fierce loyalty.

She doesn't seem armed, nor does she spot people on the rooftop. Cat is simply observing the street and the building entrance, hoping to spot people who are already far above her and the scarfed man with a Russian accent.

"I wanted to hear it, directly. It's one thing to assume people believe in something, that they'll give their lives for it. But it's another thing — for me — to hear that conviction, to feel it.", Peter paces back the way he came, and while he doesn't seem directly concerned about eavesdroppers, he does look in the direction of the supposed interloper. However, from his angle, Peter doesn't see anything suspicious or familiar. Sliding that free hand back into his pocket, he thinks for a moment before continuing.

"Two years ago," He seems to shift from the topic at hand, "I was here." Peter stops where he was walking, looking out to the cauterized scar on the land beyond, "I was here, and I thought that I could make a difference — that I was a hero." His eyes begin to narrow, and he turns his head as the wind picks up to look at Cameron. He seems to focus on him intently for a moment before continuing. "I was here, fighting Sylar — fighting to keep this from ever happening… All of this." Peter's eyes close, "There were so many of us back then, and so many of them that…" He dithers, shaking his head, "I thought that I could win, that I could stop the bomb, save everyone." His eyes open again and drift back to the ruins beyond, "You can see how that went."

Peter breathes in a slow and calming breath through his nose, "For the last two years, I've been trying to figure out why I failed," There's a strong sound of guilt in his voice, "Why this had to happen, why all of this had to come to be." Peter shifts his footing, then turns to face Cameron and the PARIAH group again. "Mistakes were made," His brow tenses briefly, creasing his scar, "Bad things happened." His gaze settles on Claire briefly, "But that girl who visited me last night, she finally showed me what Hiro — what everyone has been trying to show me since then. The reason I failed, the reason the bomb destroyed New York, the reason all of this happened…"

Daniel is still cool and collected. "No weapons I can see from here." he replies in his quiet tones. He carefully pulls the mask onto his head, buckling it behind him with practiced fingers, though he leaves the front loose and open for the moment - ready in case he has to drop from here to street level and doesn't have time for floors or stairs. He listens to Peter's story with interest, but, it is clear from his expression, no understanding of what the heck he's talking about. Who the hell does he mean? Why should Daniel care? Clearly others do, so he focuses intently, a student who doesn't want to let something else slip by him when he's already behind in class.

Let's face it - if Claire had platform shoes, it'd probably be Helena who'd actually have them on right now. She has things to say, oh certainly - but for some reason she actually keeps her mouth shut. Seems like cloud cover might draw unexpected attention anyway, so she stops worrying about it, and instead focuses on the exchange between the group and Peter. The mention of Sylar causes her to dart a look in Claire's direction, but only briefly before she looks back. She doesn't verbalize, but it may be apparent on her face; she believes if she didn't fight, she'd die anyway, in some meaningless and potentially wretched fashion. Better this, so if it happens, she can have force and meaning behind it. Helena walks the fine line between devotion to a cause and zealot. Fortunately, she has good balance.

Peter is trying to say something. What that something is, Cameron isn't sure yet — but as the other man speaks, his demeanor visibly shifts, his expression softening, the tenseness in his neck and shoulders growing slack. Eve and Helena have been telling him that Claire's uncle might make a good ally, and what he's seeing now — much as he hates to admit it — would seem to support that theory. He gives Daniel a curt nod, an ever-so-slight tip of his stubbly chin. Just because Cat isn't armed with conventional weapons doesn't mean she might not have something equally lethal hidden up her proverbial sleeve. The Evolved are everywhere and, at least in Cameron’s experience, the most innocuous-looking individuals are sometimes the most dangerous ones. "What are you getting at?" he asks Peter, his tone not /entirely/ unkind.

"Peter, that wasn't your fault!" What Claire attempts to deliver as a snap turns into something akin to a more desperate need for him to realize that he isn't to blame for the state this land is in. Her lips purse in a pout, furious. Do you see what you did? You made me speak to you. I promised myself I wasn't going to do that! The momentary lapse in her resolve bothers the faux brunette. However, the plea itself - what it stands for - does not in the least.

She isn't learning anything, the excursion is starting to seem like a bust. Maybe they changed locations after realizing she was nearby to have heard the conversation. It's a possibility Cat considers as she continues to observe. Her eyes remain on the building entrance and the street before her. If nothing else, she's got the external layout of the place imprinted in her digital everything recorder.

Claire's outburst makes Peter close his eyes, shaking his head slowly. But for all that guilt he seems to be dragging behind him like chains, there's a look of resolve that starts to come over him. Peter lifts his head up, his shoulders straightening, that unsure and relaxed posture of his draining from him as he did. "I was thinking as an individual," Peter takes a few steps forward, "That was my problem. I had been too blinded by the idea of having to protect everyone, that I failed to realize I was isolating them, when I needed them the most. When I had to be what they needed." There is visible emotion in Peter's eyes as he continues to speak. "That's what I've realized, that alone none of us are as strong as we are together. It was a lesson my father learned, and… Sure, he made mistakes, but the ideal he had was right." Peter slides one hand out of his pockets again, pointing down at the rooftop. "What I'm getting at, Cameron, is that it ends here — tonight."

At that sentence, Peter closes his hand into a fist and holds it down at his side, "Everything we've all been doing — all of us, everyone with a gift. We stop being individuals, we stop being kicked around. If you believe in this cause as much as you do, if you think it will make a difference, then that's what matters." Peter's hand comes to rest on his hip, and his eyes scan the group. It was now or never, Pete. "From this point on, from tonight onwards, the bombings stop." It was as if he had just given an order. That assuredly wasn't going to settle well with Cameron. "We," He refers to the whole of the Evolved, not just the group on the rooftop, "stop striking from the shadows, stop endangering the lives of people who aren't involved in this conflict, and we start taking it directly to the source." A look of strong determination comes over Peter as that closed fist flexes open and closed.

"From tonight, Pariah isn't a terrorist organization — It's a liberation front. We strike back directly at Homeland security, where it hurts. We free our brothers and sisters from containment. We stop trying to make shows of fear, and start making shows of strength. We risk our lives for a purpose, not an ideology." Peter cracks an involuntary smile, "Individually we're all strong, we all have our gifts, but together…" Peter's brow tenses, and he takes a step back, "Together we have the power to stand up to the worst that Homeland has to throw against us. I know someone, someone who can help us get into Homeland's security systems, get us lists of people and places. I was introduced to her in Japan by a mutual friend." Peter glances at Claire, giving a half smile, then looks back to address the group as a whole.

"Two years ago, I failed to stop Sylar because there simply weren't enough of us — Because there wasn't enough of a whole." That smile on Peter's face begins to grow, "PARIAH can change that, it can unite us, and make sure that nothing like Sylar ever happens again. It's high time that PARIAH begins to do more than just stand for something, it's time it does something. Something meaningful. Strong and Free?" He tilts his head to the side, "Let's show the whole world just how strong, and just how free we all can be…" Looking around at the assembled group, Peter nods his head once, "I want to join PARIAH, but not as it is now. If I'm a part of this, then things change. That's what I wanted to talk to you about, Cameron — Change." The whole time Peter is speaking, the skies have begun to cloud, with the wind growing stronger. For all his belief and emotion going into this, it was causing a tumult in the skies above thanks to Helena's power, and the spiral of stormclouds forming over the Deveaux building were a sign of his intensity in this matter.

Daniel seems to get it, but his expression remains between uncertain and unreadable. If these were orders, he would have to ask for clarification - if this was a play, he would have to glance down at the Dramatis Personae and maybe his notes - if this was a movie, he would lean over and ask Helena if this guy was the same guy who was in the room with the girl at the beginning - it's not that Daniel is uninspired. He can be very inspired. He just doesn't get there at the same time as anyone else. A few furtive glances to see how his fellow freedom fighters take this. Seriously? As some jive from a dingbat outsider who doesn't know anything? A decent idea but not one to buy into right away? He won't be the first to cheer for anything. He knows what that gets him.

Alright, let's take a moment to review Helena's powers, shall we? Not only does she influence the weather, but the weather influences her. Peter is disrupting the natural weather system in much the same way she does, but that doesn't mean she doesn't feel it. She's actually all but lifted herself on tippy toe, chin lifted and face toward the wind, for a moment her brow furrows as she tries to overreach Peter's slip and exert her own control into calming what's developing. She extends a hand, as if to offer it to Peter, but then looking at Cameron, withdraws it and waits to follow his cue. Again, she has things to say, but this time? She's not going to indicate the rising majority opinion within PARIAH about breaking away from striking civilian targets. Not when this moment carries with it the distinct possibility of an alpha male dominance fight. She trusts as long as Cam and Petey don't start marking territory, it'll turn out swell.

At first, Cameron says nothing at all. His jaw works as he grinds his teeth, his lips drawn out into a thin, unimpressed line. On the one hand, Peter is threatening his position and his very way of life. On the other, he could prove to be a valuable asset to their organization. Maybe it's time he stopped looking at him as Claire's uncle and started treating him like a tool — because, ultimately, isn't that what they all are? A means to an end?

It's almost a full minute before Cameron finally opens his mouth to speak, and though what he says might be viewed as a concession there's nothing about the sound of his voice that suggests he's completely on board with what Peter has suggested. "All right, Petrelli," he says, "I'll make you a deal. If you think you know the people of New York better than I do, we'll give your way of doing things a try. No more bombings. No more putting civilians in the line of fire. If it works out— " He gives a slow, rolling shrug of his left shoulder. " —great. If it doesn't, then we go back to doing things /my/ way. Got it?"

Claire's quick to spot the change in the weather, as she's used to monitoring herself so she doesn't upset Helena enough to bring lightning down on her. She breaks away from Cameron to arrive at her uncle's side and squeezes his hand. "Hey." She pulls him into a hug. Calm down. You got your way. Happy thoughts, Pete, or the sky might start falling.

When Claire came over and took Peter's hand, then wrapped her arms around him there was a visible exhaust of relief from him, in the form of a fine mist that rolled off from his shoulders and settled down on the ground, cooling the temperature on the rooftop a few degrees. His eyes drifted towards Helena, a smile forming on his lips before he looks back to Cameron. "That's the best I could've hoped for," With that, Peter looks down to Claire, then extends a hand towards Cameron, an intent look in his eyes. "As long as we work together, there's nothing that can stop us. Once we start making a change, maybe things can finally become sane again. Maybe eventually, there won't be a need for PARIAH as it is." He looks up to Cameron, and offers him the hand. "For everyone's sake."

Helena beams back at Peter, not bothering to hide how pleased she is by the turn things have taken. Time enough for all the changes to be made as to how they function as a unit, for now there can be joy and hope in the prospect of change. It's not that Helena is an innocent, or naive. She's been witness to the grave choices PARIAH has made and has played her willing part in them. But she also takes it to heart that this may be all the time she has, so why bother spending it dwelling in the dark? "So does this mean he's coming home with us?"

Daniel nods slightly in response to all of this but doesn't jump in and contribute, or give a big grin, or anything like that. But since people seem to be happy about this, he straightens up a little and his expression softens by a few degrees, not that you can really tell with the mask half-on like that.

Cameron reaches out and firmly seizes Peter's hand, giving it a vice-like squeeze. This is a sacrifice he's willing to make, if it will keep Helena and Claire happy. More importantly, it puts him in a position where he can keep a closer eye on him. "If you want to take him back to the tenement," he says to Helena, "then he's your responsibility. Make sure he doesn't get into any trouble." Assuming trouble doesn't find them first.

September 4th, 2008: Attracting Attention

Previously in this storyline…
The More Things Change...

Next in this storyline…
I Never Forget

September 4th, 2008: I Never Forget
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