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Scene Title Casualties
Synopsis Lance seeks out advice on the aftermath of his mission in the UK, only to find himself at odds with his mentor.
Date May 14, 2021

Just a bit after noon on a weekday, Lance has timed his arrival at the house to be when Gillian’s almost certainly at work. It’s not that he doesn’t want to see her, it’s mostly that he’s here to see someone else and is pretty sure that she’d object strenuously to the line of intended discussion.

She’s always been protective, and since he recently got shot, well…

He’s dressed simply– jogging sweatpants and a light hoodie– when he arrives at the front door and hits the doorbell. He’d considered sneaking around to the back but his first attempt at hopping a fence left him sitting on a bench for ten minutes regretting doing it. Which is also why he’s using the extendable cane that they gave him when he left the hospital, though he’s trying not to make it too obvious.

Ding-dong! “C’mon, Peter, be home…”


“Get up.”

There’s two droplets of blood on the concrete floor. One more dangling from Walter Trafford’s bottom lip. The boy gets up, dust in his hair, a bruise forming on his cheek. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Walter stands up and looks across the warehouse floor to his instructor.

Peter Petrelli stands in silence, arms down at his side and posture relaxed. He has a wooden sword in his hand, but sends it back through the air, telekinetically, to Walter. The boy snatches it out of the air, snorting and then spitting blood down on the ground. He tries to force back the tears welled up in his eyes, gripping the wooden sword in both hands.

“Anticipate what I’m doing.” Peter says firmly. “Move before I swing. Short, purposeful. Like stepping not sprinting.” Walter nods, overconfident but fearing looking weak. Peter watches his posture, shifts his weight from one foot to the other, and then vanishes


Peter sucks in a sharp breath as he sits up in a recliner. The extending leg rest snaps back down and nearly launches him up out of the seat. Wobbling as he stands, Peter quickly grabs a crutch and grimaces, staring with bewildered disorientation at his muted reflection in the dark tv screen.

A repeated knock at the door jostles Peter from his fugue. He nearly says something, then reconsiders and ambles his way across the living room and to the front door. When it’s Lance he sees out the little window at the side of the door, Peter opens it without any further consideration. “Lance?” He almost sounds confused. Like he was expecting someone else.

“Hey,” Lance greets with a lopsided smile, warmth in his eyes though his skin’s still a shade or two paler and he’s a little thinner than he was, “I’m alive.” He has, after all, been MIA for a bit. Then he pauses, noticing the man’s confusion. “Is this a– uh, a bad time?” He glances back over his shoulder, checking if someone else might be pulling up to the home.

His hand shifts on the grip of his cane as he looks back to Peter, “I just wanted to ask you for some advice on something but– if it’s a bad time I can come back.”

Peter looks disoriented, his eyes wander, go distant for a moment, and then he steps aside to let Lance in. “Nah it’s fine, I just…” He doesn’t know how to answer. “I was asleep.” Good enough, he thinks. Closing the door after Lance enters, Peter motions to the kitchen with a jerk of his head and leads Lance in.

“Nobody else is home right now, Gillian’s at work, Lene’s…” Peter hesitates. Where is Lene? He isn’t sure. He opens his mouth to answer and pauses, looking at the calendar on the wall by the refrigerator. It’s May? Brows furrowed, Peter leans against the island in the middle of the kitchen and stares down at the floor.

“What, uh,” Peter blinks, looking up at Lance. “What’s up?”

“She’s probably over at the station, I…” Lance walks after the other man, not using the cane for the moment since he can walk on a level surface and doesn’t need to hurry - though the distracted manner of him makes his brow furrow a little.

“Are you– okay? You look a little, I don’t know…” He gropes for the word, then finds it, “…lost?” Genuine concern, there, from someone who’s gotten to see Peter as a kind of mentor in some things.

“Was just sound asleep before you knocked,” Peter says, and he’s not entirely sure it’s the truth. But it feels truthful. “Weird dreams. Bad.” He navigates around the island and opens the refrigerator, rummaging around until he finds an open carton of orange juice, then sets about pouring himself a glass.

“Did you need Gillian for something?” Peter asks, watching the orange juice pour with a marked confusion still in his eyes. It’s fading, but he seems more disoriented than usual.

“Oh, shit, I’m sorry,” Lance grimaces at the realization he’d woken Peter up, “I should’ve– I don’t know, called ahead or something, I didn’t think. I hate waking up from bad dreams…”

One hand comes up, pushing hair back a bit from his face, “No, I wanted to see you actually, I– uh, firstly, I don’t suppose you’re a technopath along with all the other shit you do? Or know one. I mean, one that I can trust?” Pushing ahead with business, since he’s here already and already woke the poor guy up.

Peter frowns, shaking his head. “Never got the hang of that kind of ability. Tried a few times, but it was always more trouble than it was worth.” He admits, grimacing. “I don’t—think I know any.” The hitch in his voice comes from the switch between confidence and uncertainty.

“Why? You need somebody to change your grades or something?” Peter asks a little belatedly, starting to come out of whatever fog he’d been swimming through. Then, grimacing again he adds, “You’re—in college, right?”

“No, I…” Lance watches the other man with open concern now, his brow knitting before he stepped over to lean against the counter, “I work for SESA, remember…? Are you sure that you’re alright, I mean– do I need to call mom or something?”

Whatever he’d come here to talk about brushed aside, the man’s apparent brain-fog a much more serious worry in the moment.

Right, right.” Peter says, rubbing a hand at his forehead. “Sorry it’s been—it’s been a lot, lately. You’ve gotta be taking like… continuing education courses, right?” He squints at Lance, hoping to connect some small thread of logic to his disjointed thoughts.

Then, with a grimace, Peter waves one hand. “Actually—You needed something. Sorry, don’t—don’t mind me. Must be the pain meds for my back acting up again.” He says with a squint. “Not normally this foggy.”

“Yeah– I mean, not right now, I’ve been in the hospital and all,” admits Lance with a slight wrinkling of his nose, “So I’m probably behind there, but the agency’ll take care of that.” He hopes, anyway, he hopes. They clear up missed homework when you’re on top-secret technically-illegal missions, right?

“Sorry, I should’ve called ahead,” he says, pushing off a bit from the counter, “I can come by another day, seriously. It was a long shot anyway…”

“You’re here now.” Peter says with a shrug, slowly settling in on a stool by the island and motioning for Lance to take the one across from him. “You go now, then you woke me up for nothing.” He opines with a lopsided smile. “So, what’s on your mind? Girl trouble?”

“Uh… no, more like,” Lance steps over, easing onto the stool, “International incidents?”

The stakes are a little higher than girl trouble, it sounds like.

“‘Cause like… we found out some horrible shit, but I think they’re going to bury it because of politics, and it means people are going to suffer and die and I’m not…” He grimaces, “We can’t even drop the video proof public without a technopath to edit it because we’re in it.”

Peter’s expression changes when his assessment of Lance’s situation is far from his expectation. “Oh,” he sighs, taking a moment to compose himself. “Okay so, first off…” Peter realizes he forgot to put the orange juice carton back in the refrigerator and does that first. “Secondly,” he picks up his glass and comes back over to the kitchen island, sitting down on a stool, “I’m going to need a few more details.”

Setting his glass down on the countertop, Peter sits forward and folds his hands in front of himself. “What’s the horrible shit, and who’s the they that’s gonna bury it?”

“Sorry.” Lance wrinkles up his nose a bit, smiling although only a little, “I don’t have normal problems like ‘girl trouble’, it’s always smugglers, or evolved electric rats, or… this.”

A waggle of his hand through the air. He’s fully aware that this house might be bugged, mind, which is why before he answered ‘girl trouble?’ he was already wrapping them in a silence field.

“Anyway, uh… England? You know, the UK? Yeah, they’ve decided to take a page from the bad old days, picking up Slice off the streets, medical comas, experimentation. We’ve even got proof they were faking peoples’ deaths before taking them, so it’s not legal shit even there,” he reveals, both hands lifting to gesture in exasperation, “But the government doesn’t want to cause a problem so it’s all back-room arguments and political maneuvering and we all know literally nothing’s gonna get done. It didn’t here until it went public either.”

Peter doesn’t ask Pizza? when Lance says Slice, and that’s progress. Instead, he stares down into his glass of orange juice, brows furrowed. “And… what do you want to do?” He asks, looking up at Lance. Now there’s full clarity, the fog from before gone, and Peter suddenly feels like the edge of a honed knife. Direct, to the point.

“I…” Lance’s hands drop, and he lets his head fall back, exhaling a frustrated sound, “I don’t know. If this doesn’t get out… people are gonna suffer and die. If it does get out… people are gonna suffer and die. How did you all make these decisions back then?”

He looks at Peter earnestly, “I was just a kid when you were all deciding what was worth it. How did you make that call?”

“I didn’t.” Peter says, eyes dipping down to his half-finished glass of orange juice. “I thought I did, but I wasn’t.” He clarifies. “When I was with Pariah, we were just following Eve’s visions. Going places, doing things, whatever seemed like a good idea at the time and that…” His expression hardens. “That ended bad.”

“Then, it was the Company. My mom, everyone from her era just… moving me around where I needed to be.” Peter’s voice tightens. “Then I was in Moab, then I was… tricked by my father.” Peter’s jaw tenses. “Then I—I tried running on my own and… then it was Argentina and the government, and Rupert and Messiah.”

The glass in Peter’s hand starts to crack.

“Then it was anyone who had a feeling about how I live my life. Then it was—then Sylar—”

The glass shatters.

Fuck,” Peter gasps, looking down at the broken glass, orange juice spilled all over the counter and his hand.

“Holy shit– “ Lance jumps to his feet as the glass shatters, an instinctive movement that he immediately regrets as a spike of pain jabs through his side. He grimaces, grabbing hold of the counter as he takes a moment to push back the pain.

“Are you– let me get a paper towel– “ It’s his sort-of-mom’s house, he knows where they are. He hobbles himself over to the counter to grab some, glancing back over his shoulder, “Did you cut yourself? I know where the first aid kit is.”

The guy lives here, Lance, he probably does too.

“I’m okay,” Peter says, shaking glass off his hand onto the counter. “It’s—it’ll be fine.” It doesn’t look like any of the glass was able to break his skin. He reaches across the counter, taking the paper towel from Lance, and starts sopping up the spilled juice and picking the biggest pieces of the broken glass out to put in the sink for now.

There’s an awkward silence that hangs over the kitchen. A shadow of whatever it was Peter was saying before he broke the cup. Taking a knee, he wipes up the orange juice from the floor, picking up more glass as he does. But when he stands back up, Peter levels a steady look at Lance across the bar.

“Let it all out.” Peter says with a barely-restrained tremor of emotion in his voice. “Secrets only live so long before they come out. Secrets are like—they’re like a knife. You’re either stabbing, or or being stabbed. So I say… I say gut them like a fish.” His jaw flexes, one hand squeezing the paper towel he’d been using so tightly a little juice rolls between his fingers and off his knuckles.

“Like you said, do or don’t do, someone’s going to die.” Peter throws the paper towel in the sink. “So either you choose who gets hurt, or someone else does.”

Lance is a little paler than he was when he came in the door, which is saying something. His expression is torn between serious and concerned for the other man, but when he speaks the former wins out.

His jaw sets a bit, and he nods a little, then a bit more firmly. “Okay. Okay, that’s what we were thinking, just… we need to shield ourselves first, so we aren’t casualty number one.”

Stepping back along to the stool, he scoots himself onto it, leaning against the counter a bit heavily, “Which just brings me back to the technopath question, though. We need to cut ourselves out of that footage, or else I guess just disappear into the wasteland forever.” From the tone of his voice, he’s really hoping that one isn’t the answer.

“Why?” Peter snaps, brows knit together. “Why hide what you did? Someone is going to be a target for this. Aren’t you trained? Isn’t this what Brian drilled into you all?” There’s a knife’s-edge clarity to his words now. “If the UK is this far gone, if they’re experimenting on their own people, the time for delicate touches is way over. We needed decisive action here at home,” he says, tapping a finger on the counter, “and it came too late.”

Shaking his head, Peter’s expression turns into a crooked frown. “The Cambridge Massacre was televised, live. No one’s faces were hidden. We’re there again, Lance. Only this time it’s a bunch of British kids.” Holding on to the island for support, Peter comes up to stand beside Lance, looking him in the eye.

“You’re either in the fight,” Peter says under his breath, “or you’re not. You choose.”

The sudden change in the man’s demeanor takes Lance by surprise, and he starts to say something a few times before managing to stammer out, “I– I mean, I just thought– we could keep helping more, I mean, from the inside, not in– prison, or dead, or on the run or something– I…”

His shoulders slump, gaze dropping down as he says in a much smaller voice, “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m just– being a coward about this. The me that– that Cash knew wouldn’t have hesitated.”

“If you’re holding a torch you’re either ready to set something on fire or understand you eventually have to put it out, otherwise something is going to get burned.” Peter says firmly. “Make a decision, and live with it. You’re not a kid anymore, Brian isn’t here to hold your hand. You came to me for lessons on how to control your ability, and I gave them to you. Now you’re coming to me with this, and I’m giving you a choice. Fight, or step aside.”

There’s a long silence from Lance in response to that, but his fingers curl in against one knee, a sudden sharp breath drawn in through his nostrils.

Brian isn’t here to hold your hand.

“No,” he finally says, his voice quiet at first, “No, he’s not. And it’s… it’s a good thing he’s not.”

His voice strengthens, “Because Brian was wrong.”

Blue eyes flash back up to Peter’s face, and he pushes himself off the stool and to his feet, anger slipping into his tone suddenly, “And so are you. About everything but one thing.”

Peter meets the expression with an unreadable one of his own. He glances up and down Lance before asking, “and what was that?”

“I’m not a kid anymore. We’re not kids anymore.”

Lance looks at the older man for a long moment, starting to say something a few times before aborting it every time - and then he shakes his head tightly and looks away. “I remember– I remember what happened when you adults decided ‘our side’ were acceptable casualties to get the job done. I was one of them. We all were,” he finally says, turning to stalk towards the door, “We’ll fight this war our way. Sorry I bothered you.”

A different Peter might have followed Lance out of the apartment. A different Peter might have said different things. But that man isn’t sitting here. Instead, Peter looks down at a glass on the table, at his warped reflection in it. The only thing that jars him from this moment is the sound of the door closing, causing him to jolt up in place and look to where Lance was standing a moment before.

A different Peter would have handled this better.

But that man is dead.

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