Calling Spirits


cat_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Calling Spirits
Synopsis Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it's the question.
Date September 18, 2009

Village Renaissance Building

Honestly, Leo and Cook are going to kill her. It's one thing when she slaps the wig on and goes out as 'Evelyn Wozniak', but tonight she's simply tied her hair back in a braid, shrugged on a jacket (even if she doesn't need it), and headed out with whatever intention she had to go where she needs to go. All without telling anyone. It's only as the hand that isn't reaching for the building's door slides into the pocket that belatedly realizes something…

This is Peter's jacket.

Instinctively, her hand curls around the key she finds there. The metal is cold as her fingers curl around it, slowly warming to her body temperature. She actually pauses for a moment, seriously thinking about heading back up the elevator to change.

The hesitant notion is compounded by the fact of the man coming in through the front doors of the lobby. When the glass door swings open, it's the abrupt stop of a man in an ink-black suit that garers Helena's attention again, and the pale eyes that settle on hers. As if the key had somehow summoned him like some Goetic demon, Peter stands in the doorway, dim light from the street lamps outside backlighting his form, the brighter interior lights of the lobby casting shark shadows over high cheekbones and deep set eyes in unflatteringly cadaverous ways.

There's silence, protracted, and then he merely steps in a touch further, and moves to the side with a gloved hand holding the door open for Helena. Two ships passing in the night, not a word shared between.
She starts to move past him, careful not to touch - though there's no bitterness in that effort, it's purely an issue of keeping herself from being accidentally whithered to death. In moving past him, something disturbs her, the intuitive and innate awareness that something is wrong. She won't be able to figure it out, but it's that he smells different. It's not overt, and doesn't register in her consciousness, but who he is, and who he was, are two different people.

She's past him, and his back is to her, and the key is now warm in her hand. It's what causes her to stop, to turn around. Even from behind something's wrong. He carries himself differently.

"Do you want this?"

The question seems loaded. It's certainly easily easily misinterpeted. But should he turn to face her, he'll see the source of her question: lying in her palm is the key to his apartment, once given to her as a comfort, the access to sanctuary. She's not a robot, and though her features are kept even, it is an effort to keep any nuance of tone out of her voice. She is not submissive in her query, but nor is she angry, and nor is she neutral. Something's there in her tone, but it is kept in check, here is me, being adult, being civil, in a sudden situation that does not necessarily permit for adulthood or civility.

The door almost starts to close, until it registeres on Peter that the question is directed at him. There's a pause, his back still to Helena and a slow turn allowing him to focus over one shoulder to her with a brow raised. Blue eyes divert down to the key in her hand, his expression softening some as he takes in a slow, deep breath. "Why would— " he stops, eyes fixed on the key thoughtfully, and instead of finishing his sentence he instead reaches out with a gloved hand, taking the key between two fingers, holding it up to the light as if it were some artifact of the past unearthed into modern times.

In a way, it is.

"I'd figured you lost it," Peter says quietly, palming the key and sliding it into his pocket. One shoulder rises up into a shrug, blue eyes drift from his feet up to Helena again, then beyond her to the lamp posts across the street, then slowly to her again. "It's getting dark out… you shouldn't go out on your own so close to curfew."

Even through the gloves, the icy needles of his touch register against her skin, and there's a small, soundless intake of breath and tiny wrinkle at her brow from the sensation. Her hand is suddenly empty, and she curls her fingers and retreats them back into the pocket. "No." she says. "I…forgot about it a little, I think. I used to use the place to sort of get away from things. Which is what you gave me the key for." She gives him a one-shouldered shrug, and a brief smile that ghosts its way off her face quickly and doesn't quite meet her eyes.

"I've been moving around the city after hours for two, three years now." she says admits quietly. "But you're right - Teo and Cook would have my hide." It probably won't stop her from going out. She studies him thoughtfully, not so much an emotional armor in place as a preparedness that he will do something or say something hurtful, and even though she has her own opinions of why he might, that doesn't make them hurt less. Her mouth opens with the sudden urge to say something, but then close, getting that thoughtful look - the one she'd get back in the tenement, when he'd ask her a question and there'd be that pause before she'd begin to speak.

What she does say isn't what she had planned to originally. "Are you here to see Cat?"

There's a subtle narrowing of Peter's eyes, brows furrowing together as he listens to her. But to her latter question, his expression changes, becoming more inscrutable as he answers, "Maybe not, now." One black shoe moves to block the door from closing, and standing in the doorway talking as they do, Peter tucks his gloved hands into his pockets, releasing the key into one as it clinks up against something within. "I came here to— " something catches him by surprise, and a hand retreats from one pocket of his slacks, holding a business card. Helena can very briefly spot the Linderman Group logo on the front. His brows furrow, staring at the card confused, as if unaware how it got into his pocket.

"I…" blue eyes lift from the card to Helena, "wanted to ask her about Teo, actually. But it might save me time to just ask you instead." The card it palmed, tucked away back into his pocket as his eyes wander to the street outside, then back to Helena. "Do you know how to find him? Where he might be? I've got something I want to talk to him about, and it's something I'd rather do face to face."
"The code's changed," Helena gestures to the elevator. "I could take you up if you want." And then she can change out of his jacket, though she's grateful that he hasn't seemed to notice it.

"I can get a message to him." Helena says, but admits in puzzlement, "I'd be surprised to find out that they weren't the same methods that you already have access to. Are you out of favor with Wireless?" The question is not facetious and has not even a hint of snark. Though admittedly, she would not be surprised if Hana had washed her hands of Peter Petrelli. There's a moment's hesitation, and she confesses, with something that can only be described as gallows humor, "You know," and her tone's a bit wry, "The last time I arranged a meeting for you, you kind of killed someone."

"Wireless refuses to deal with me since I spent time at Pinehearst. Her view of the world is strictly binary." There is a touch of sarcasm in that answer, blue eyes averting from Helena as he looks to the elevator doors across the lobby, then back to her. "Send a message to him regardless, let him know I'm looking for him, and— " he smirks, "that I don't intend on hurting him. I just want to see what he knows about some people on Staten Island."

Shifting his weight to the foot that isn't blocking the door, Peter's eyes narrow slightly as he asks, "Who's Cook?" His head tilts to the side, brows furrowed, "and for that matter where's Alexander? I haven't seen him coming or going from this building once since I started keeping eyes on it."
"I know things about people on Staten Island." Helena replies serenely. "You could ask me." And then she'd know what he's trying to find out. She might even give him the information, if she judged it worth giving.

"Alexander's around." she promises, and does not update him on Leonard. Nor for that matter, on Cook. "Is there a particular reason you want to know?" Are you actually concerned about what happens to me? Thoughts that drift are kept carefully from her expression. She's come to have an excellent poker face, and though it's been slow in coming, even with the man in front of her. "There are a lot of people on Staten now I'd understand if they drew your attention." There's a pause. "If I ask Teo to find you, will you tell Gabriel to find me?"

A pointed look is given to Helena when she dodges his question, one brow coming up in surprise of the defiance. "I want to know because I like to keep an eye on the people you keep close to you. Sometimes, when you're too eager to find someone to help you, you don't notice the knives they're hiding behind their back. Your famous, your face is well-known, anyone who says they're a sympathetic ear could just be waiting around the corner to shank you in a dark alley…"

He looks away, head hung slightly. "I need information on a man named Jensen Raith. Whatever Teo might know, who he's come into contatct with lately, if he's tried approaching Phoenix… anything of the sort. I want to make sure he's keeping his nose clean." It's like indirectly asking Helena for help, without directly asking Helena for help.

There's a moment of silence as his foot holding the door scuffs around, and his posture changes to afford weight to that foot instead, resting his shoulder against the door as well to keep it open. What should have been merely a passing exchange seems to have now turned into a protracted conversation, and one that is about to get longer."As for Gabriel…" Peter's voice trails off, eyes drifting from Helena to the dark street out front of the building…

It will have to take Peter's glance to indicate to Helena that anything she should look behind her— unless she can hear, which presumably, she can. Subtle sounds. The shift of fabric against legs as a coat settles back into place, and the soft sound of shoes becoming solid against the pavement, and a step backwards. Perhaps more tangible in some ways is the nape-hair raising effect that someone is right behind you

"Did we have something to talk about?"

A last tendril of shadow is easing back into Gabriel's frame, ink through the air being assimilated to make up the fabric of his coat at the shoulder. Completely solid, no longer a skulking shadow, his expression is patient.

One of these days, Helena's going to get keen to the idea that individual body temperatures effect the ambient local, and once she does, the startlement she experiences and strives to hide quickly will be less of a problem. She takes a step back and turns a bit, not because she's shrinking away, but rather to keep both of the men in her perspective now. "The two of you." she breathes. "I swear, you could be your own creepy dead zone Sprint commercial." Because Sprint, not T-Mobile, is the sponsor of Heroes!

"I'd like to ask you something. Somethings." Helena admits to Gabriel. "There are some things going on which I think might require your…unique attention, if you felt they were worth vesting your time in." She addresses Gabriel in a very direct manner, not in the fashion of a victim (or former victim), and not with an expectation that her needs will be met or any affectations assumed as to how to persuade him. It's a change.

"I've met him." Helena says then, turning her gaze to Peter. "I don't know what Cat's experience has been with him if anything; either way this is probably a conversation we should have upstairs." The fact that the pair have a creepy vampire vibe and she's about to invite them into someone's home - well, for the moment not just Cat's, but hers too - notwithstanding.

This time Peter's shift in stance is to simply move aside and hold the door open to let them both back in. His planned question about where Helena was going can be cast aside now, since Gabriel has effectively blocked her in with his timely arrival. "Nice to know you're always nearby when I need a helping hand," Peter admits to Gabriel with a sarcastic smile. As he holds the door open for Helena, there's an incline of his head into a nod, but his eyes follow Gabriel instead, watching him with an uncertain expression. "You've met Jensen?" One dark brow rises, and he doesn't bother to mask his earlier conversation, Gabriel's likely heard it all by now.

Gabriel's gaze switches from blonde, to the interior of the building he's being invited into. Wariness and vague interest, but ultimately— there is little he has to fear. Instead, his concern is Peter, a dull look of amusement as he glances up and down the other man with a twitch of a knowing, half-smile at the corner of his mouth. "Sneaky," is Gabriel's simple observation, before looking back at Helena, tilting his head in affirmation.

Let us talk. He starts to head for the door without another word. Off the street is generally a good place for the accused Midtown Man to be.

Cat isn't immediately on hand, perhaps elsewhere in the building, or down in the Rock Cellar. Either way, Helena has let both Peter and Gabriel into her home, though she was careful to avoid letting either man see the new elevator code. Not that it matters. Gabriel goes where Gabriel wants. On the way up the elevator, Helena is likely caught scrutinizing Peter's face as if to try and find an answer to a question she can't really ask in that particular moment. Either way, when they get to the penthouse, Helena brings them in, shows them to the entertainment room; as good a place as any to have this conversation. And you know, if some innate, inner testosterone driven love of electronics makes their cockles tingle, that's alright.

Helena takes a seat after the pair seem settled. For a moment, she seems uncertain, and then ends up addressing them both. "I don't know about the name Jensen," she says, "But I was introduced to a man named Raith about a month ago."

There's familiarity, at least in part, on Peter's stride as he moves into the penthouse, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks, eyes settled more on Helena than the way ahead of him. Familiar territory, and again he's gotten his way inside without buzzing up. "Jensen is his first name, Raith's his family name, for as much of an alias as it sounds."

Blue eyes only wander away from the focus of his conversation as he looks into the entertainment room, only to see Helena head inside. He pauses, looks away towards the kitchen, then steps in through the open doorway slowly. "What'd he want from you— Jensen? I figure he'd only approach you if he needed something," there's a look up to Gabriel when that's said, one brow raised.

Gabriel isn't slow to make himself comfortable. Led inside, the room gets only a brief roundabout glance, electronics and furniture alike, before he takes a seat for himself, long legs casual in front of him and back curved. Making himself at home, as opposed to skulking around like a shadow or pacing around the periphery - when you get the opportunity to be comfortable for once, you tend to take it.

"It's not really his business." Gabriel addresses Helena, ignoring the look from Peter sent his way. "He's just doing a back ground check on his new boss. Feel free to not answer. What were the somethings you wanted to ask me about?"

"It's alright." Helena says calmly. He didn't ask her the right question anyway, at least not in her mind. "Two things." she says. "And one's more of a random thought for you to mull over than a question. But the concrete stuff first. There's someone out there who's dangerous and needs help. She'd originally been staying with us, with access to suppression drugs, but this girl…if it's possible that we can find her, I'm hoping you might be willing to help her."

Peter furrows his brows when Helena deflects his question, blue eyes following her warily, at least until she starts bringing up a wholly different topic to Gabriel. There's a quirk of his head to one side, and with a half smile he starts to make his way over to the window in the room, resting up against the wall beside it, arms folding across his chest. "Dangerous?" The word is parroted out with one brow still raised, "I'm not sure you're asking the right person for the kind of help you're looking for her to get…"

But his sarcasm is left to the wayside with a shrug, his turn to observe Gabriel and watch what Helena has to discuss with him. But that was only one thing, and Helena had two items on the menu. Time to wait for dessert.

The request is a surprise, and it almost shows. Gabriel's eyes lock on Helena's face in study, an eyebrow twitching up and uncertainty, for a brief fraction of a second, glares in what is usually an icy and dead gaze, the kind sharks have when they aren't in a frenzy. And even when they are. Self-consciousness betrayed, before Peter promptly breaks it. Disdain suits Gabriel's face better anyway, looking towards the other man with a moment of a scowl. "You did," he points out, voice flat.

Let us not speak of how well that's gone. But not every student is Peter Petrelli. It's out of as much defiance as intrigue that Gabriel tilts his head back at Helena and says, "I might be willing to help her. What kind of dangerous are we talking about?"

Peter is ignored, and Helena's eyes meet Gabriel's with the confidence that could only come from having seen what he can become, and for the better. It's not expectation, or demand - it's just knowledge of what could be. "Her name is Maya Hernandez." Helena begins. "She's in the US illegally, I think she'd been in trouble on Staten Island for a while. She…she's like a Typhoid Mary. I haven't seen her do it, but I've experienced it - she can make a kind of sickness happen. When she's stressed, or upset. It can kill. We need to find her, and she needs to be taught how to control herself. I believe that not only could you teach her, you might be the only person who can withstand her." Aside from Claire, who let's face it, isn't exactly anyone's teacher.

One dark brow rises, rises and just crooks up in the most incredulous look possible. Peter's stare at Helena when she describes the ability is slowly swept over to Gabriel. There's something unsaid in his expression, but the worry there is palpable, not so much worry about the woman herself, but worry about how she might be 'helped'. Slowly though, that look fades down to something more neutral, and with a twitch of his lips in an awkward muscle spasm, Peter's lips creep into a smile. "It sounds like she is dangerous," a little lower in pitch than before, "but you made the right choice, I think, in propositioning Gabriel for assistance. He has a knack with teaching people new things."

Leaning away from the wall, Peter's shoes scuff on the hardwood floor, blue eyes flicking from Helena to Gabriel and back again. "Perhaps the both of us should handle this one together?" It's not so much a request coming from Peter as an invitation. "Gabriel might need someone to… keep him healthy, should she try and do him harm." THen, thoughtfully teasing, he taps a finger on his chin and looks to Gabriel. "Or maybe we could talk to Raith about it."

"If you've learned how to keep people healthy, Peter, that's news to me," Gabriel states, a bite to his voice as he looks at the other man. At the teasing offer, he only gets a raised eyebrow and a second of silence, before attention is diverted back to Helena. If there's irritation for Peter's words, it doesn't manifest visibly. "If it's a matter of control, then I can probably help. Find her, first, and then we'll see. What was the other thing?"

Okay, okay. Helena can't help herself, her gaze slides to Peter sidelong. "Woah there, Professor Quirrell." she says dryly. "You might want to dial back your inner Voldemort's chubby at the prospect of potential world wide viral plague, if you don't mind?"

Helena's gaze re-settles on Gabriel, and now, back to the srz bznz. "Like I said, it's more something to consider. If you didn't know my father is in Humanis First, you do now. He's working closely with Danko, and he wants to get his hands on me really badly. I know Phoenix doesn't have the capacity to take on Humanis First, but I'm one of their top targets, and other…factions, I guess you could say, have approached me about their own considerations about what to do about them. At one point, there was talk about luring Humanis First into a trap by making them think I'd been captured by law enforcement and was being transferred. I don't know if it was a genuine tactical option, or something being tossed out for the hell of it, but the idea was just dropping my name, not me - but if they did have me, or someone they thought was me, it might fool Humanis First into committing. I hear you do a pretty good imitation, and frankly, you could probably do far more damage, directly and accurately dealt, than I could."

She pauses a moment and notes, "I'm not so much asking you to do it as roll the idea around, and if you'd be inclined, we could see who could make it workable. I'm not military, and my training is limited to what opportunities others have had to teach me. But I thought it might be worth thinking about."

Blue eyes snap to Helena, watching her carefully, listening with his head quirked to the side and no expression of amusement on his face. It's hard to tell if he's still listening to her, or if her earlier words are just simmering behind his eyes. There's a look, a curl of his lips, one Gabriel catches just a little too late before the black leather of a gloved hand meets the side of Helena's face is a firm, hard slap that rings out in the room.

Peter's hand remains out for just a moment after the resounding backhand, eyes still narrowed. There's really nothing you can say after backhanding someone across the mouth in their own home, other than, "I'll show myself out." His hand comes down to his side, fingers curling with a protesting creak of the leather before his shoulder is offered to Helena instead of his furrowed stare, then ultimately his back as he walks to the doorway. Nothing is spared for Gabriel, not even a look.

There's no real chance for Gabriel to respond to her, or even to take in her words and think them over before Peter's action cuts through the conversation and abruptly ends it. He doesn't twitch, doesn't bat an eye, but he does unstoppably pull his gaze towards Peter with all the avidness of a predator, watching that stride for the door with something like resentment. The floor is otherwise Helena's to respond, to let Peter go, to engage, to defend. A flicker of interest her way shows in the corner of Gabriel's eye.

The blood on her lip almost doesn't register, but Helena reacts like a woman who would never allow a man to hit her and get away with it. Like an ex Moab prisoner who doesn't have to take the beatdown from the guards anymore. She surges to her feet, a hand extending out in front of her as suddenly a gust of wind sweeps outward from her, picking up Peter like an autumn leaf and slamming him face first into wall of the foyer beyond. The backwind flares her hair, and sends some of the less sturdy equipment in the A/V room clattering - Cat's going to have to replace some equipment. A few portraits fall and glass shatter out in the foyer, things will be something of a mess, but not her expression gone fierce and focused.

The wind dies as quickly as it comes, and Helena remains where she is, braced and ready, shifting to keep Gabriel in her eyeline as well, even if thus far he's done nothing at all.

Helena is a little thing. She's barely out of her teen years, and one of her own winds could pick her up to carry her Oz. But call this moment one of those that reflect how tiny women can be scary; it's as much in the calm ferocity of her tone as in the look on her face.

"Lay a hand on me again, and I promise you, you'll be my first successful lightning strike on a target smaller than Volken's truck."

In the doorway at that particular moment, with Peter about to stride through it and exit, is Cat. She seems to have been elsewhere in the penthouse, but is aware of visitors being present. In her hands is a hazmat suit. It's rather small, in fact very small, in contrast to Gabriel's size. One might easily conclude it was meant for Claire or Helena herself. One hand lifts toward her mouth as though she might be about to perform a throat clearing cough as announcement of her presence, but she stops forward motion and instead quickly sidesteps.

Because first Cat witnessed Peter backhanding Helena, then she witnessed the possible death of some AV equipment and felt the wind, and then she witnessed the suddenly airborne Petrelli. When he impacts, she glances at him, then at Helena, and finally Gabriel. "Who needs Krav Maga when she can do that?" is asked under her breath.

The sheet rock is cracked where Peter struck it, paint shipped away to reveal the powdery and white substance beneath. The sudden uplifting off of his feet and abrupt smash into the wall sent Peter to his knees, mouth open and eyes wide from the stun of the impact. For a moment, he looks absolutely confused as to how he ended up on the floor, but a quick twitch of his head causes that confusion to fade, and blue eyes to drift back up to Helena. Dark brows lower, the scar on his face creases, and gloved fingers wind closed into fists with a protesting creak of the old leather.

As Peter stands, there is a flickering of the lights in the hall — only that's what it appears to an untrained eye, Gabriel sees something else. Gabriel knows it's not the lights flickering, it's something dimming the hall. The first few tendrils of black slither out from Peter's shoulders, snake around thorugh fabric and sink like sea-serpents back below the threads of his suit. One gloved hand moves up to his mouth, wiping away the symmetry of blood from his lip, focus shifted towards Cat for but a moment, then back to Helena.

The slithering shadows are gone, sunk back down into his clothing to not return, the lighting remains normal, and it may well only be Cat and Gabriel's presence in the room that changed the outcome of the day. "You're an irresponsible brat who talks first and thinks second." His blue eyes narrow, "Sending Gabriel Gray to train a dangerous evolved? Do you have any idea who the man he works for is?" Gabriel knows the inflection of the voice, the tone, "Your Maya may as well have slit her own throat, and yet you assume I'm leaping at her for what?" The next words don't seem to make sense, "To honor Kazimir's sense of injustice? Fine." Both gloved hands come out slowly in a passive gesture, fingers spread.

"But next time you threaten me…" Peter's blue eyes narrow, "consider the alternative." His focus briefly shifts to Cat, over to Gabriel, and then after a moment's hesitation he turns for the elevator, hands in his pockets, trying to hide the suggestion of a limp from a twisted ankle.

Gabriel's eyes slide shut in what seems to be a visible effort not to lose his own temper, let alone Helena her's. He flows to his feet in a singular lithe movement as Peter speaks, as if judging about whether or not to let him walk away. But no puppetry power builds rods into Peter's limbs, Gabriel rolling his shoulders. Rather than address the other man in the room though, despite the direction of his gaze, Gabriel speaks words directed to Helena and, by extension, Cat. They are, of course, loud enough to dog the other man's heels.

"Peter doesn't know his own mind right now, you'll have to excuse him. If he has any sense, he'll know he won't always be able to just walk away. Especially not from me."

After the invective Helena's been subjected to by her own father, the insult irresponsible brat does not send her into a spiral, or even seem to do anything beyond the words hitting her ears. She stares at Peter's limping form, thinking about how it wasn't him, and yet wondering how many women say that to themselves, too. Even if the situation's different, the irony of it is not lost to her. Absently, her hand touches her mouth, the outward edge of her palm used to wipe away the blood. She winces a little, and murmurs in a soft but certain tone, "Cat? Could you get me some ice?" She's become incredibly accomplished at compartmentalizing, and Peter hit me is shoved in a box and filed away to process and cope with later. She sits back down again, adding to Cat with an odd sensation of calm, "I'm sorry about the mess."

Her gaze returns to Gabriel. Very softly, so as not to let the words flow into the foyer and out toward the elevator, she asks, "You've dealt with this, what he's going through." This is not a meltdown. She is almost unnaturally calm. It might be a little post-shock, though. "Can you explain to me what is happening to him? Please."

Her eyes settle on the man as he collects himself and digs his hole a bit deeper with more insults, then calmly watch as Peter moves for the elevator to be sure he does so, then observes the lights overhead for the signal which says it's headed downward and reaches the lobby. The way lit floor numbers would progress from six to one. She doesn't speak to him, there's no need to use words of expressing supportive female friend-ness toward the man who struck Helena or tell him to get out. Helena covered his behavior quite well, and he's leaving. She just watches him do so.

While her eyes are tracking that, she replies to Helena's request. "Yes." But she doesn't move yet, both from tracking he who departs and from interest in Gabriel's answer.

Six floors down, and the elevator doors open with a soft bing, and as the doors open, Peter stares down at his hands, brows furrowed. His right hand curls and uncurls, fingers flexing, even as he looks up to the lobby's expansive floor. A few soft blinks come next, blue eyes flitting around the elevator, looking down to the key card in his hand. Puzzled, he stares at it and steps out into the lobby, looking around with puzzlement, a suttering exhalation coming with each awkward footfall.

Outside of the elevator, he turns to look up at the door, to the sign that reads Lobby so clearly, then towards the direction of the front doors. He swallows, dryly, gloved hadn moving up to feel the soreness in the side of his face, eyes falling shut as he starts to walk again, stops, looks down at his ankle and winces. He doesn't dare look back at the elevator.

Best to go. For all he knows, he's leaving the scene of a murder. In that instance, it would be better not knowing. Anything else can wait.

"No," Gabriel says, an oddly dull sounding response to Helena's soft request. Remember himself, he glances at her, and it's not quite guilty, but getting there. He pushes his hands into the pockets of his coat, pacing a couple of paces to better stand apart from both women, both in his sights. "I didn't go through this. Not exactly. I never had Kazimir's memories or manner— "

His head tilts, reconsidering his words. "Not through virtue of having his ability, anyway. I don't understand what's happening to Peter, other than the fact that he's not quite Peter. Not anymore. And there's little more for me to do for him other than put him out of his misery before he gets someone killed."

A flicker of facetiousness shows in his eyes as he adds, dryly; "Some more."

"Thank you, Cat." Helena's gaze turns back to Gabriel. "Peter would never hit me." Helena says with terse conviction, "Kazimir Volken is devouring him from the inside out, and there's nothing anyone can do. It'll just jump to some other host." She leaves it at that. A frisson of thought occurs to her; she files it away, makes a mental note to pay a visit to a certain fortune-teller on Roosevelt Island. Her musings snap to the present. "I suppose then the question begs, who do you work for?" Whether this is a dangerous mistake is up to her to live with, but to put why she's willing to ask Gabriel to take on this burden is…difficult for her to even begin to quantify.

Listening to Helena as she speaks, Cat's memory undertakes a flashback. Her eyes focus on a wall and it seems she perhaps isn't completely present, a situation Helena's familiar with. In her mind's eye she's in this very place on the seventh day of July.

"That's because I don't think Abby was ever truly Evolved, Cat." reveals Hiro with a solemn voice. "That's one of the things I wanted to talk to you about. I want you to know." He waves a hand at the talk of the Formula and Frontline. "Listen. About Abby. How much did you understand about Kazimir Volken?"

"The earliest record we found on him was from the Second War, he was one of the Nazis," Cat begins. "We estimated he was older than 100 years, able to literally suck the life out of people and reduce them to dust. He could also possess others, he did this to an FBI agent called Richard Santiago and later to Gabriel Gray. His organization, the Vanguard, had hundreds of members around the world and quite a few assets. We at first believed he intended to eliminate people with abilities, but later learned the virus would kill ninety percent of humanity. Our suspicions started when one of his operatives bragged about a flood. Given his Nazi past, it made me think in biblical terms."

"There was something about her ability which was poisonous to him, anathema. She literally healed him off the face of the earth."

"Good. Then you understand half of the story already." asserts Hiro. He takes another sip of coffee. "Kazimir Volken was not a real man. Or, I don't think he was anyway. He, or it, was more like a spirit. I think of it as the Death Kami. I met him with his old body, the German one, as he was vivisecting a man named Francis Allen. Or Francois Alleynde, I think it was. I may have the last name wrong." His eyes lock on Cat's then and he reveals, "Francois was the host of the Life Kami. The opposite force of Volken. Like Volken it crosses generations and possesses new people. Unlike Volken it's a thing of goodness and light, and doesn't seem to overwrite the personality of its host. So no, I don't think Abby was ever truly Evolved at all."

She stops the remembrance at that point, and speaks inquisitively. "Is it really Kazimir acting on him, or merely the spirit, the death Kami, fusing with him? Perhaps this is a default personality the spirit brings to bear."

"Whatever it is, Peter's terrorised little girls before to get what he wants. And sometimes all he wanted was a reaction." Gabriel lifts an eyebrow, meeting Helena's gaze and giving a small affectation of a shrug, steeling that look back towards Cat. "This was before he got shaped by a dead men. He talks about the ability leaving an impression, and maybe it does. Maybe I'm the freak where it didn't work correctly, or I didn't let it own me - but I think the line is blurry."

It shouldn't be a surprise that Gabriel doesn't think much of Peter. It could be a surprise that he voices his disdain as to Peter's less than pure tendencies. Hatred can be indiscriminate and hypocritical, after all. "I work for no one," Gabriel tells Helena. "Raith might imagine otherwise, but only when our goals align.

"Incidentally— I don't have conflict with Humanis First." Gabriel angles his chin up, dark eyes glimmering as he observes Helena. "Except when they take what I want. I'll consider it. But this is your war, Phoenix."

"Peter's a little bit destiny's bitch." Helena says bluntly. "And by a little bit, I mean a lot." Witness her life in relation to Peter Petrelli for the past year. Her gaze sharpens. "Maybe I'd have it that it was our war, but we don't have the means or the training to fight it. As we have been informed by many people, including Raith. It's not him who came up with the initial plan, though I'm sure that everybody knows of everybody else, and just not necessarily what each other is thinking." There's a pause. "It was Eileen who introduced me to him. He effectively asked me to keep Phoenix's nose clean. Let you lot handle the dirty work, since were not fit for it." Her tone is neutral.

"It's worth considering that the longer Humanis First maintains their presence, the more influence and scope they'll have, and the more of us they'll kill. The fewer of us there will be." And the less opportunity he'll have to collect abilities, however he's resolved himself to acquiring them. "I appreciate you considering it. Let me know either way once you've had a chance to do so."

She moves back to the original topic. "And Maya? If we can even find her, though Cat has more to offer on that, I think." She nods to the brunette, noting, "It could be the kami. But you know what? It doesn't make a damn difference to me, Cat. Whatever it is, it needs to be out of Peter and it needs to be destroyed. Permanently."

"Yes," Cat agrees with eyes on Helena, "Peter needs to be healed by Flint Deckard as soon as possible. Healed in the way Kazimir was. The question is how to contain the kami and prevent it going elsewhere afterward. That one I don't have an answer for. Just brainstorming. Maybe if they were alone at the time, with no other person around to take over. I would presume it can't inhabit Deckard, given his hosting the opposite force."

Then she faces Gabriel, speaking calmly. "It is your war too, Gabriel," she opines, "they just haven't proved that to you yet. Maybe you'll get lucky and they won't, but I think the odds are they'll cross your path at some point. Force themselves into your attention. I've information to give you, things you'll find useful when or if that happens."

From there she addresses the subject of Maya, holding up the hazmat suit. "The plan was to send Claire with her. I don't estimate she'd be able to do the whole thing herself, the goal was more that she could wear this and find out for us if it works. If it doesn't, she'd be able to recover. If it works, then I could work with her safely. If you're willing to help with her, assuming she can be found, I'll provide you with a set of these that fits."

Gabriel's brow tenses, lowers into consternation at news of Raith's words. He snorts. "Apart from the fact that your intentions don't align with anything Raith would see happen— it's too late for Phoenix to keep its nose clean. It rose from the ashes of a group of terrorists and has since then killed and fought to get what it wants. If you stop doing that, you're not going to survive. You'll break apart on everything sharp and hard this city throws you against, and your hands are always going to be dirtied - rise up doesn't mean rise above."

He starts to move for the exit, following Peter's path, though not about to walk away before the discussion is settled. "As for doing your dirty work— call those favours, not necessities." He flickers a glance to Cat, hesitating, and coming to a halt. "War implies joining a side," he points out, drolly, but dismisses the sentiment with; "Like I said, I'll consider it. For now, I'll meet this Maya of yours too, if you find her."

Gabriel places a hand against the edge of a wall, head tilted. "And only get Deckard to heal Peter if you want him dead. Peter isn't possessed by Kazimir, not like I was - he's the next Kazimir, and your pet negator wouldn't have anything to separate from him either. But hell— try it. I kind of want to see what happens."

Helena is shaking her head, even as Cat is speaking. "I don't think Deckard is the answer." she says. "I think we need to look beyond the kamis countering each other. They're a balance, like yin and yang - it may be that they can't exist one without the other." Which means they might have to destroy both. But it's something to consider for another day. His other words are weighed, and seriously, as well. "Thank you, Gabriel." On a certain level, she already knows that Phoenix is going to wind up with Humanis First blood on its hands. She's just not sure yet when that day's going to come.

"I'll take him down." Helena says to Cat, noting suddenly, "Did Peter leave with a card? Shit, we're going to have to change the codes again." Then a touch sheepishly, "I'll be back up to clean up the mess. I'm really sorry and," a wince, and the gentlest of touches to her lip, "Ice would be really swell. Please?"

With that, she's walking toward the elevator doors, toward Gabriel.

"Some assume we're pacifists," Cat muses, "when we aren't, and never pretended to be. Being judicious about the use of violence isn't the same as being unwilling or unable. Taking on HF directly isn't one of those things we're equipped to do in a direct quasi-military way. Our operations have been targeted moves, aimed at specific spots and points in time for a single purpose. This would be more like trying to take on an entire division of Marines. Or, in some cases I'm certain, Green Berets and Seals."

But she lets that topic drop, instead offering "Thank you also, Gabriel." Helena's glanced at when she mentions Peter with a card, not seeming troubled. "It's an easy enough thing to do."

It's then she turns for the kitchen to get Helena that ice. Acquiring a hazmat suit for Gabriel and changing those codes will be done in short order after that.

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