Devil's Advocate


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Scene Title Devil's Advocate
Synopsis Attempts to bring Nova, Isaac, and Brynn into the fold on the topic of superpowers is a success, but not a peaceable one.
Date January 16, 2021

Petrelli Manor, Upper East Manhattan

“I’m pretty sure this is about more than just lunch and art, so thanks for coming with,” Nova says to Isaac, her hand tightening around his as she looks up at the door of the Petrelli mansion. He hadn’t been on the invite, per se, but after her terror of the day before, she’s not quite ready to relinquish her hold on him.

The weather is chilly but bright, and her red wool coat creates a sharp contrast with the patches of snow and the pale blue sky where it can be seen between buildings. By outward appearances, Nova looks much happier and far less fragile than she did yesterday, but Isaac knows she didn’t sleep well and has barely eaten anything since she and Brynn came to his house yesterday.

She reaches her hand up to knock on the door, her gray gloves dulling the sound a little. Smiling up at him once more, she turns her attention to the door again, in anticipation of whoever opens it.

"Hey, I'm here for you," Faulkner says, giving her hand a gentle squeeze in return, a gentle smile on his lips. His own attire is impeccable, as ever — white shirt, black peacoat and pants, black patent leather shoes. "Besides. Mrs. Petrelli and I go way back; I'm sure she won't be too upset about me dropping by with you."

“I've got it,” is probably not the kind of muffled and distant greeting anyone would expect to hear from behind the mansion door. But it happens. Footsteps approach in a quick thumping of someone walking fast, probably in anticipation of the visit, though it's still a beat longer before the knock is answered. The door swings open to show Jac Petrelli peeking into the opening and looking up to greet Nova. And Isaac Faulkner?

“Hi.” A thread of curious suspicion weaves through her voice, and she stares at the unexpected visitor for a full second before motioning with a tip of her head for the pair to come inside.

“Brynn will be down… eventually,” she deadpans her sister’s excuse. Like maybe that's the reason she hadn't known anyone else was showing up. Jac motions vaguely to the deeper reaches of the mansion. “We’re going to be in the media room. I digitized some of my art, so I can display it on the screen and not have to drag pieces everywhere.”

The girls certainly can squabble like only sisters do. If she'd heard Jac's comment, it probably would have followed with a snarky retort. But their visitors are in luck because the elder of the girls is only just descending from the top of the stairs and she has a small thing in her hand. She waves at the door, not exactly surprised by Isaac's presence although not expecting it either.

"Got to put a new battery into my receiver," she tells them in a careful volume. "Meet you in there." Her spares are in Kaylee's study, which she lets herself into so as to retrieve one.

“Hey,” says Nova, brows lifting and voice lilting up in a sort of question, as if to ask if all is well. She tips her head curiously when it seems maybe this is actually about art, and looks up at Isaac, a silent apology passed to him. The state senator probably has more important things to do than look at a teenager’s artwork, even if that teenager is talented and famous.

She waves when Brynn makes her appearance at the door, then looks back to the younger woman holding the door open for them.

“Isaac, Jac, Jac, Isaac,” she says, waving her hand from one to the other in case they can’t sort themselves out. “Isaac knows about yesterday. And he remembers her,” she tells Jac, in case Brynn didn’t have a chance to fill him in. “So far Detective Khan hasn’t answered my voicemail, though.”

As Nova steps into the singed foyer, she raises her brows again. “Does it always look like this?”

Even if this actually is about art, it's not just about art. It's about supporting Nova, too. That means it's worth it by default. He meets Nova's apologetic look with a faint smile, one that's barely visible on his lips but makes his dark eyes gleam.

And then it's to work. As Nova offers her formal introduction, Faulkner turns to Jac; he inclines his head to her, mouth curving up into a wryly amused smile. It's a carefully practiced and honed expression, intended to smooth over any awkwardness — he is, after all, a 'plus one' when a 'plus one' had not been invited.

That smile falters just a bit, though, when he steps in beside Nova and notices the signs of scorch marks in Kaylee's foyer, because he has a very hard time imagining someone like Kaylee letting something like that stand for very long if she can help it. "Cooking accident?" he asks, glancing to Jac.

“Hi,” Jac offers when Nova introduces Faulkner. She's met him before, once or twice and in passing. It's possible that he's even been to the house as a guest to one of her mom’s parties or meetings or something. So she only treats him with that initial skepticism. Nova’s assurances that he knows about things might have helped some.

She pauses in turning back into the house to regard the blackened marks. But it's only for a second and then she waves it off like it's no big deal. “Yeah, it's part of a project I'm working on.” And obviously not important enough to keep talking about. Jac starts down the hall to lead the way into the media room.

“Come on.”

It doesn't take very long for Brynn to do what she needed to and by the time Jac and her entourage get to the media room, she has joined them. She clips her receiver into place on its magnet and once more can hear the conversation. She isn't saying anything at all until they're all in the same room and settled — definitely not sharing anything about the burned foyer. Which, honestly, she's utterly dismayed by — she slept through the whole thing somehow! How she slept at all after the horror of yesterday is really a result of a TylenolPM.

Gray eyes look between Nova and Isaac, and although she's not entirely sure what Jac has in mind, she's glad that at least Nova seems to be feeling better. "Sorry about that," she says quietly. "Nice to see you, senator." Her grin of greeting at Nova is way more casual. And she ceded the floor to her sister.

“Does your mom know?” wonders Nova as they move past the damaged foyer, and her eyes widen a little as she glances back at Isaac, lips twitching a little in response to that secret smile of his. Her fingers interlace with his as she follows Jac and she smiles again when Brynn rejoins the party.

“You guys both doing okay?” she asks, because aside from the burnt decor, Jac seems to be fairly unbothered, at least by appearances. Brynn’s harder to read, quiet as she is, and Nova’s blue eyes seek her gray for confirmation of how ‘okay’ either she or her sister are. She may only have known Brynn briefly, but so far, she trusts her, and her eyes don’t lie, in Nova’s experience.

Faulkner arches an eyebrow in surprise when Jac admits that it had been a cooking project of hers that had caused the scorching… but then a hint of a wistful smile touches his lips. "She must cook like I do," he murmurs, quietly enough that only Nova could possibly pick it up. That had been one thing he'd never been able to pick up.

Maybe one of many things, come to that.

He fights that thought off before it can even crease his confident expression, and Nova's fingers interlacing with his dispels even the remnant of it. By the time Brynn greets him he's back in the present. "Brynn," he acknowledges, inclining his head slightly and offering a small smile as he walks beside Nova.

“Mom?” Jac looks over her shoulder, not at the damage artwork, but at Nova as though surprised it even needed to be asked. “Yeah. She’s totally cool with it.” A hand is used to gesture to the seating that takes up much of the space that’s been dubbed the media room as they enter, indicating for Nova and Faulkner to sit wherever they will.

She claims a spot on the floor for herself, after casting a look in Brynn’s direction. She’s not sure how her older sister is doing. As usual, the younger Petrelli girl avoided every and all things that could have reminded her of yesterday until she was ready to face it on her own. Which, by all outward appearances, took almost no time at all. But that’s normal for her.

“So…” Jac’s blue eyes swing back to Nova and Isaac, brows knitting as she tries to decide how to approach the elephant in the room. It’d be so much easier if everything could have just stayed normal. “How… much…” A glance flicks to the senator, then focuses on the cellist instead. “How much does everyone know about… anything?”

Brynn is not maybe handling it quite as well — she looks tired. When she did sleep last night, she had a lot of dreams. But also sleeps without the electronic receivers to her implant that look like hearing aids — so she's completely weirded out by the foyer.

As she moves to sit in a chair, she replies to Nova softly, "As okay as I can be?" She's still trying to process everything they saw.

Gray eyes flicker to her sister and Brynn frowns just a little. If Jac hadn't been avoiding, she'd already know! But the snark doesn't cross her lips. Instead, she tells Jac, "When you split, Nova and I landed in the senator's office." She hesitates, perhaps waffling a little, and then adds, "Nobody else seems to even know who Justice Quinn was and even her electronic footprint is gone. But he still remembers her." Which is something she still hasn't figured out.

"I'm assuming you didn't tell Mom anything about that part," since their mother didn't hightail it to demand Whatever additional details Brynn could give. "I don't think any of us know any more now than we did yesterday, do we?"

“Same,” Nova says softly to Brynn, then heads to a sofa where she can sit next to Isaac and see both of the Petrelli girls at the same time. Jac’s question makes her smile, despite the trauma they endured, for the vagueness.

“We told Isaac what we saw, and also what I think I saw, what I think Justice Quinn saw,” she says, carefully. “And about the jogger who saw Justice and then didn’t seem to see what we saw."

She grimaces at the words, shaking her head slightly. “Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book. Anyway. Yeah, we tried to call her office and they had no clue who she was. I called the detective we talked to that day at the marathon, but she hasn’t returned my voicemail,” Nova reiterates. “After Brynn left last night, I looked around some more on the internet and still can’t find any sign of Justice Quinn. And the card she gave me the day of the marathon… isn’t.”

She looks up at Isaac, then back to both girls. “So the same place we were yesterday. Did you learn anything new?” she asks Jac.

Faulkner settles in beside Nova, studying the Petrellis. "I haven't had an opportunity to dig very far into things, at the moment," he offers quietly to Brynn, before turning his attention to Jac as Nova asks her question.

When Nova takes a seat at that angle that lets her see both girls, she notes for just a moment movement at the corner of the doorway before it's gone. Faulkner may catch the same in the process of settling in beside her, but when either look, nothing is there.

Asami keeps to the hall, her back against the wall in silence, feet hovering off the ground. Bewildered to have heard— seen, briefly— Isaac Faulkner in the cellist's company was a shock to her, one she quietly works through by tilting her head back to look at the ceiling.

Nova's news regarding the missing woman makes her furrow her brow. The person who vanished before them had been Justice Quinn? The complete erasure of her down to objects she'd touched is fascinating— terrifying.

Asami turns her head toward the media room again to keep listening.

“Oh.” Jac’s eyes flick from her sister to Nova and Isaac. “I told Mom about Justice Quinn disappearing. Just…” Her hands raise in a half helpless, sort of offering gesture. “I couldn’t remember her name then. And I tried telling about the jogger being there and only seeing us, but…” This time the open-handed gesture becomes a shrug. There was a lot happening, and even more that she isn’t saying.

“Seriously though, I think… I think trying to figure out what’s happening is a good idea, but…” There’s always a but. And this one the younger Petrelli seems to waffle on voicing. She finds some point between the others to look at, her mouth half open and lips pulled like she’s biting down on her words and unwilling to let them be pulled out. Eventually, after a long second, she shakes her head. “But… I mean we need to be careful. I mean… I mean what if people just thought we were crazy, or someone… the wrong someone remembers Justice and… I mean this isn’t something we should just go to the news over.”

"Lord no!" is Brynn's immediate rejection of the idea of going public. "I'm still not entirely sure we're not all crazy or been exposed to something while we were in the park and hallucinated the whole thing!" Except of course, Isaac's memory of the woman pretty much toasts that argument.

Dragging a hand through her hair, Brynn's gray eyes flicker between them. "The senator remembers her, we remember her…. mom might or might not when we tell her the name. But seriously, it can't get out that we're talking about something like this. The paparazzi will have a field day and either make us all out to be imbeciles or let the world know there's alien abductions or whatever the heck going on in the park. That's not publicity anyone needs. It'll cause Mom all kinds of trouble with that side the family and the senator all kinds of political trouble. So…. who should we trust?"

She pauses. "We could maybe pay a private investigator or something, but…." She doesn't seem to have a great opinion of their ability to keep private stuff private.

Nova’s brows draw together as she tips her head, looking in the direction she caught the movement, but she sees nothing now. She sits distracted for a second while the conversation continues on around her, trying to listen for any noises from the other room — footfalls, voices, household appliances. But she hears nothing.

“No one is going to the media,” she says a little flatly — and very unlike her usual cheery self — as she turns back to the conversation at hand. “I wasn’t about to publish it on my YouTube channel either, before you worry about that. But, um, do you have staff working here today? I figured we were in private, but I saw someone just now — is your mom home?”

She looks at Isaac to see if he saw what she did, facing the doorway as she is, then over to the two Petrelli girls. “I’m sure your staff is great, but we should probably talk somewhere more private, if we don’t want this to get away from us.”

Faulkner has a faint frown on his face; he hadn't been looking full on at the doorway, but he'd caught a glimpse of… something. Staff is his first thought, too… but if there's staff around, then why are those scorch marks in the foyer still there? And Kaylee sure as hell wouldn't hide in her own house…

The mention of going to the news draws his attention right back to the Petrellis immediately, though — even if it's a negative mention, there are some phrases that are, at this point, hard-wired to red alert in his brain. His gaze shifts from Jac to Brynn. Brynn's assessment earns a small nod of approval; then, as Nova weighs in, he looks to her. He nods again… then his gaze moves back to the door. "Quite right. If we're going to be discussing this, I'd rather make sure we're not being eavesdropped on."

Asami closes her eyes hard, drawing on some internal strength to help her. She thought the lack of sound of footsteps might save her when she'd peeked in, but apparently not. Her feet hit the carpet running the hall and she slowly turns. Just as Jac begins shaking her head in assurances that the house staff is gone for the day, Asami’s voice from the hallway interjects, "You are."

She speaks before she enters the room. "What Jac means to say is— if you go around talking about what you've seen at all, you may end up like me." Pushing the door open, Asami walks through, changed back into the clothes she wore when she disappeared from the office yesterday rather than the set she'd borrowed from Kaylee this morning. A conscious choice— one made in the hopes it doesn't advertise she's hiding out here more than just during this conversation. "Ask too many questions about it, and they may try to make you disappear. If they fail to on their first pass, they may turn everyone, everything you've ever known against you."

The voice brings Jac to a watchful, unsurprised stillness that shifts to rising and moving to stand near Asami as the woman speaks.

Asami lifts both hands by her sides in a gesture of calm as much as to show she's not as armed as the news reports have made her out to be. "Don't panic."

"The rumors about the kinds of danger I pose have been greatly exaggerated," Asami assures flatly. But looking first to the Petrelli girls, her gaze sticking next on her employer, and finally to Nova, there's something appraising in her gaze. A compulsion pulls at her over what she sees in them when she looks into their eyes.

It astonishes her how she's missed it all this time. The way there's something out of place in each and every one of them… something that she aches to fix.

"Nova," Asami snaps herself back to the present, focus entering her eyes again. She no longer looks as though she's looking through the cellist. "What you saw yesterday in the park— that vision— was it the first time that had happened for you?"

She lowers her hands slightly to better spread them to support her explanation. "You might have caught sight of something— something that's been suppressed in you for a long time." As calmly as she can, she looks between Nova and Faulkner, posture still as non-threatening as she can manage. "What happened to me is I uncovered that part of myself being suppressed…"

"And I can help others awaken that piece in themselves." Here is where she starts to stumble, worried about looking as crazy as she surely is sounding. "I-I can fix you so you can see properly. I can fix what they broke in you." Her offer is earnest, genuine, if a bit nervous.

"If I can just show you, maybe it'll all make more sense?" Asami stammers out self-consciously.

Standing beside her instructor, Jac looks very unsurprised by what's said. Not in a way that implies it's all expected or even already known. But in the simple understanding that weird things happen, have happened. She can vouch for it, having seen and experienced first hand.

What does draw a reaction from the teen is Asami claiming she can awaken it in others. Her brows furrow slightly, and she lifts a side-eying gaze to the woman beside her.

“That's new.” The remark isn't deadpan, but layered in wondering. What else can Asami do now that she's awakened? Jac turns her head and looks at the others, flickering from Brynn to Nova and Faulkner. “You can trust her. And me too. I believe you saw something, that… wasn't… I don't know. I believe you though.”

Brynn knows the face but didn't put it together while sitting in Faulkner's office that Jac's fencing instructor was the person he was worried about going missing. Her brows pull together over her nose and she looks from the unexpected guest to Jac. When she looks back at Asami, she tips her head.

"You can fix it?" She initially thinks the other woman is talking about her hearing. But that's not something suppressed. Running her hands up and down her jeans-clad thighs, she looks very confused. "Wait… what do you mean that what we saw is inside us?" Are we crazy?

Is the fencing instructor crazy?!

Jac doesn't seem to think so, and Brynn says, "So show us." She's willing to see what the other woman is talking about — there's been plenty enough weird shit the last two days.

Isaac no doubt feels Nova’s fingers tighten around his when Asami steps out into plain sight, and Nova looks to the Petrellis for guidance, and finds far less alarm at seeing the woman in their house than she feels. Her brows draw together in confusion as Asami tell her cautionary tale and tells them not to panic.

She opens her mouth to ask questions, but then closes it when Asami calls her by name, her eyes widening as she stares into the other woman’s intense eyes. The trust from Jac and Brynn doesn’t do much to abate the fear she feels rising within and for a long moment she doesn’t speak.

“Yes,” Nova says, suddenly, long enough that it seems like it’s simply in agreement with the Petrelli sisters, but she continues on. “I saw someone who looked like me on the subway a couple months back, maybe once since then.” She swallows hard, adding, “Those ones weren’t on fire, though. I didn’t see them die like this one did.” Her eyes turn upward, to look at Isaac in a tacit apology for not having said something before. “I just thought I was overtired, maybe my cold medicine was too strong, that sort of thing.”

She looks back to Asami. “What’s being suppressed? I don’t want to see people dying. Ones that look like me or anything else.” She shudders at the memory. “I’m okay with that being suppressed.”

That voice has Isaac on his feet in an instant, his grip tightening on Nova's hand, moving to interpose himself between Asami and Nova. His expression is blank, showing nothing, nothing at all… except for his eyes. Those rest on his former employee, dark and unblinking. When Jac moves to join her, he blinks once… but his eyes never leave Asami.

Those eyes, dark and gleaming, shift to Asami's hands, then back to her face, and for a moment — just a moment — there's… something in his expression. A flicker of something that might be hesitation. A softening. Whatever it was, though, it's passed nearly as quickly as it came.

He remains silent as the others speak; only once does his gaze leave Asami — when Nova confesses to seeing things before. That sees Faulkner's gaze slip ever-so-briefly to Nova before his eyes find Asami again… who still hasn't moved.

It's only once everyone else has spoken that Faulkner speaks, his voice quiet and subdued. "Trust her," he repeats, coming back to Jac's words. "You ask me. To trust her." Even though the senator’s eyes are on Asami, Jac nods, standing by her statement to trust the woman at her side.

His head nods slowly, though his eyes never leave Asami. "Three years ago. I trusted you. I… I haven't forgotten that," he says, letting out a ragged breath, his voice quivering ever-so-slightly with barely controlled emotion. "That's why I'm still here. Even though I should be running for the door right now as fast as I can go."

Faulkner's gaze sharpens, eyes glinting like obsidian. "But if you're going to show me anything, you can start by telling me what the hell happened on Friday afternoon. When you opened fire on Federal agents!" he snaps, his fury building. He laughs, an unhappy sound, and lets out a sharp breath to try and get his anger under control. "And then you can continue by telling me why in the hell you would hack into the Pentagon. And after that, you can assure me that Kaylee is alright."

"If you can give me answers to that… then… maybe we'll talk."

The similarity— that Nova saw this other vision of hers while she was on the subway, too— that doesn't feel like a coincidence. Asami looks slightly relieved for that. "It's— probably not exactly like that? The visions don't seem one hundred percent related to what's been suppressed, just… some." When Brynn asks her to show them, it helps further reduce some of her tension.

Then Isaac steps in, his voice quiet at first before it builds up, finally cracking out like a whip.

It's him who's the hardest to face, but she does so, her hands falling slightly, fingers curling to palms as she tries to keep a straight face herself. She waits out his demands, because they're not unjust— just misinformed. Asami lets out a steady breath of her own — with Jac easing a step closer to her side — before she lifts her chin to address him.

"I didn't hack the Pentagon. I didn't open fire on the agents who were chasing me, Mr. Faulkner. I ran to the roof. I jumped—"

"And I flew." Embracing a weightless feeling, like a leaf on the wind, Asami's heels leave the ground first, her toes shortly after. She rises about a foot off the ground, one knee bent to help balance herself while she floats.

"Impossible, right?" she asks Faulkner, eyes locked on his. "That's what everyone is supposed to believe. But no— the truth is that the world is a much stranger place than we've been led to believe. Someone has gone through a great deal of trouble to keep it looking as ordinary and mundane as possible."

"I slipped the noose somehow, so they came after me with guns. Had they caught me—" Her stomach sinks, and she abruptly stops floating, falling that foot to the floor. Her knees bend to help absorb the shock before she stands upright again. "They were going to shoot no matter what. To stop me, because I can do more than just fly. I can help fix what's broken in others, give them back what's been stolen from them."

Asami looks away to look back over her shoulder. "Kaylee— as far as I know— is resting after everything that happened this morning. Because we found someone else who was broken inside." She begins to roll up one sleeve and her eyes lose focus again as she peers slightly off of Faulkner and Nova. That fist closes, holds, then reopens—

Aflame from palm to fingertips, fire flickering several inches above her hand. Asami holds a look of focus, but the fire begins to spill toward her wrist. With a sharp inhale, she closes her fist again and shakes her hand out to the side, gaze sharpening as she looks down to the ground and then back up again.

"Listen— I don't know if remembering what happened to Justice Quinn is a very tangible sign to figuring out who has powers like these that have been negated or what, but— I can see something broken in each and every one of you. Something just waiting to be made right again." She looks pained as she looks from each one to the next. "I can give you no greater answer than restoring what's yours back to you."

Even though Jac’s unsure about her instructor’s flying abilities — isn’t that something that just happens in movies and books? — she’s more intrigued than afraid of it. Even the flames, which she watches with wide eyes and a bit more nervousness, it still isn’t regarded with the terror that the disappearance of Justice Quinn had elicited. She’s had some time to think about all of this. Some time to wonder about her bad, invisible day.

“I’ve never seen… anything. Not like how Nova saw herself.” It was more the opposite for her, in a weird way. “But…” Jac looks from the others still seated, or at least near the seating, and turns her attention fully up to Asami.

“I want to know more. I want to know what’s… broken.

Asami has never given her reason to fear, even with Isaac's words about what happened. Sure, she could believe hacking the Pentagon …maybe. But the rest? That doesn't seem in character for her sister's fencing instructor. And Brynn is damn sure her mother wouldn't let Asami in the house if she didn't trust her.

As Asi floats in front of them all, Brynn surges to her feet with wide eyes. "Oh my god! What… how??" And there's fire! What even the hell is going on around here?? Gray eyes flicker toward the front foyer and her brow quirks upward as she shoots Jac and incredulous silent query. Did she do that to the foyer????

Dragging a hand through her hair, Brynn looks from Isaac to Nova to Jac, asking uncertainly, "Mom knows about all this crazy?" She doesn't feel broken… at least, she doesn't think she does. And she didn't see what Nova and apparently Justice Quinn did. Looking at Asami, she adds the question, "what if something you 'give back' yanks us all around like taffy and we vanish?"

Because that's a question she ever thought she'd ask.

Isaac’s fiery response draws a shocked look from Nova, her hand gripping his as tightly as his grips hers. Wide blue eyes follow his movement upward when he stands to speak to Asami, showing a side he’s never shown to her before. Somehow, it’s almost as surprising as Asami suddenly levitating off the floor, flame in her palm, like a comic book character. Nova’s wide-eyed expression doesn’t really shift between looking from Isaac to the demonstration by Asami. Unlike the Petrelli girls, she sits, still and quiet and afraid.

She looks up at Isaac, gauging his reaction for a moment, before looking back to Asami. Her lips press together, like perhaps she’s trying not to speak, not to argue or ask questions that only seem to bring more questions.

The dark-haired woman by the Picnic House turns slowly, as if having heard Nova’s voice and looks at her dead-on. Even windblown as she is, her eyes are unmistakable things. She threads a lock of hair behind one ear, takes a step forward, and catches on fire. The flames blow in the direction of the wind, portions of her clothes blacken to ash and blow off of her body. She takes a half step further forward and collapses to her knees, and begins to crumble apart like a burned log.

Like someone killed in an atomic blast.

Nova’s eyes close and she shudders at the memory of seeing the other-Nova burn and crumble, the horror of it. Maybe that’s what Asami means by broken.

She stands up, too and looks to Asami.

“I don’t want to be broken,” she whispers.

Isaac's tells are not easy to read — you don't make it far in Congress or Daniel Linderman's world without a decent poker face, and Isaac Faulkner's feet have been firmly planted in both for a long time. That doesn't mean he doesn't have tells, though. When Asami denies his charges, one corner of his mouth curls ever so slightly upwards, eyes narrowing, a dull, venomous gleam in their depths — usually a precursor to a scathing and decisive counter.

That curl of his lip falls away when Asami's feet leave the floor. Isaac doesn't gawp, doesn't gape… but his eyes narrow further, shifting to the side for a fraction of a second before coming back to Asami. He's not going to shout aloud — no zounds or egads from him — but the wheels in Faulkner's head are turning as fast as Asami's ever seen them go. He watches as she spawns a flame in her hand, watches as it burns without burning her… and watches, too, as the fire starts to burn upwards before she extinguishes it. Still, though, he doesn't speak, doesn't move — he watches silently, hearing Asami out to the very end.

His gaze slips to Jac, then to Brynn as the Petrellis speak; Brynn's question draws another twitch of Isaac's lips, but this time there's a tiny nod of his head to the Petrelli daughter to go with it.

It's Nova's response, though, that finally sees Isaac's game face fall away. Isaac looks over to her, and for a moment there's a softness in his gaze, a concern for her that is not often evident. "Nova…" he murmurs, squeezing her hand gently again; then, feeling that's not enough, he reaches over to put his other arm around her shoulders for a moment. It's the first time his eyes have been off Asami for any length of time.

But there's still an issue on the floor; reluctantly, he turns his gaze back to Asami. "You know…I spent last night checking the scene," he says quietly. "I looked over camera footage, I checked the bullet holes. Everything. Looking for… something. Some sign that things weren't what they seemed. But all of it — every camera angle, every bullet hole — it all lined up. Every single bit."

He lets that sit for a half second before he continues. "The one question that nobody was able to answer, though… was how the hell you got away from the roof. The story you're telling me — as… yes, Ms. Tetsuzan, as impossible as it sounds — answers that."

Isaac nods once — an acknowledgement, and a gesture of recognition. "But. Ms. Petrelli raises a salient point. And I have a few more questions of my own that I would put to you." Again, his eyes flicker to Nova for a moment, and again that concern is visible in his eyes… but again, however reluctantly, his gaze turns back to Asami. "If you'll permit me to play Devil's Advocate?"

Jac answers her. Nova answers her. Brynn's answer— to the compulsion within Asami, it sounds like agreement, too. A what if isn't a no. It sounds like curiosity and acquiescence just with extra steps. She experiences a contented calm, feeling the compulsion take hold like a drug. It swims in her mind, preparing to be set loose.

By the time Isaac gets around to expressing he'd like a few more points answered, she's convinced there's simply no time for that.

"No," Asami answers with serenity. "No, I have to show you." Her eyes begin to shift in hue, earth to chocolate, chocolate to honey, honey to searing, molten gold.

Before Faulkner can react, Asami descends on him like an ambush predator. Something else takes over and before he even realizes what’s happening she’s grabbing the sides of his head, fingernails biting into scalp against his reflexive desire to withdraw. Isaac manages to get a hand on Asami’s face, fingers splayed, trying to force her off of him.

The struggle sends both of them staggering backwards through the studio, crashing into a small table that knocks a mason jar filled with paint brushes crashing to the floor where it shatters into a thousand pieces. Shoes crunch broken glass underfoot as Faulkner continues to fight Asami, trying to resist whatever mania has come over her. Faulkner crashes backwards into a framed painting, knocking it off of the wall. When the frame hits the ground the glass shatters and the frame comes apart.

Asami drags Faulkner to the floor, pinning one arm beneath a knee. Her gold eyes burn brightly and Faulkner reaches up to grab her by the throat with his free hand. They struggle, limbs flailing, until Isaac is rolled onto his side and through the broken glass on the floor. It drives into the side of his face, through his cheek and mouth and neck. He screams, and only when she sees blood does Asami come back into control of her own body.

Faulkner crawls through the broken glass, away from his attacker, only to turn and bring a hand up to his face. He feels the warmth of blood on his palm, on his face, in his neck. He looks to Asami with a tremor of adrenaline spiking in his chest. But as he pulls his hand away from his face, the glass slides out of his wounds and clatters softly to the ground.

Looking at his hand, Faulkner touches one of his injuries and feels a soothing warmth spread through himself. Glass is forced out of wounds, cuts knit shut, and though Faulkner feels tired, he also no longer feels wounded.

He was able to heal his injuries with a thought.

A startled sound forms in Jac’s throat when Asami suddenly attacks the senator. For all her standing in solidarity with her instructor and believing what she said about the news and it was all lies, now she goes and attacks someone, a politically powerful someone.

She takes a step forward as the pair crashes around and breaks things. But it's like watching a wrestling show, with no good way to intervene and help anyone. Her eyes jump briefly to Nova and Brynn as the struggle seems to come to an end, with Faulkner rolling away and Asami not following.

A beat later her attention is on the two again. Jac holds her breath, blue eyes darting from Asami to Isaac, waiting. Too afraid to speak.

Whoa, what the hell??! Asami's sudden attack startles a half-scream out of Brynn and the young woman scrambles out of the way of the altercation. It's all she can do to keep out of their way as the fencing instructor and the senator brawl on the floor, and her gray eyes fly to Nova and Jac to see if either one is in position to skirt the edge of the room and run.

Given the way the fighters are going at it, it's a total crap shoot.

When Asami launches herself at Isaac, Nova falls back, trying to grab Isaac with her, but her hands find no purchase as his go up to defend himself. She covers her mouth, backing out of the way as much as she can, but finds herself caught between the fighters and the sofa until they move away, crashing through the tables and paintings.

“Stop!” she screams when Isaac falls back and onto the glass, rushing forward a little, and then back when her fear of Asami pulls her back, flowing and ebbing for a moment like an indecisive tide.

When she sees the blood, when Asami at last falls back, she rushes to Isaac, her ballet flats crunching on the glass, and she crouches to help him just as she sees the impossible happen. Her lips tremble as her tearful eyes stare into his, and then she turns to glare at Asami, expression turning to one of fury.

“He didn’t say he wanted you to!” Nova shouts, rising up from her crouched position. “You could have started with any of us, helped him see you weren’t lying without attacking him! What is the matter with you?” It’s probably not smart to scream at a person who can throw a fireball at her, but calm and reason were lost along with Justice Quinn.

Isaac Faulkner's hands shake as he stands there, covered in his own blood, horror surging through him as realization crystallizes into unavoidable understanding.

She got him.

Her curse is passed on to him. Whatever target she'd had on her back is on his, now, too, and if they'd come for her, it's only a matter of time before they come for him. His dreams are ash. He's a dead man.

So be it. If it is inevitable, then it is also irrelevant. He opens his mouth to speak.


The word is a whisper, a breath, robbed of force by the weariness that seems to have burrowed into his very bones. There's no trace of that weariness in his eyes, though, as he looks at Asami — only the white-hot, precisely metered calm that lies on the far side of fury. It gives him strength.

He is weary, yes. This, too, is irrelevant. He can bear weariness — he's borne it before. He's borne worse than this. Seven rounds into a dead-even match, when he'd burned through the free energy he'd stored up before the match had begun and has been forced to dig into his reserves — first in his muscles, then in his sinews, then deeper still, into the very marrow of his bones. When movements that should be nearly effortless have become labors, when the sum total of existence is reduced to the width and breadth of a boxing ring, inhabited only by him and his enemy. He's borne that weariness, and won — kept going until he outlasted his opponents through sheer force of will.

He'd borne worse than that when Kain Zarek had taught him the most important lesson he'd ever learned — what fighting was really about. He'd borne Zarek's fury and taken the lesson to heart — he'd kept breathing even when it was agony, even when ruptured organs and cracked bones had howled in protest. He'd not given up even when he couldn't hope to win, couldn't even hope to fight back. When darkness had come down on him like an avalanche and dragged him down into the comatose depths to smother him, he'd held on. He'd clawed his way back, and grown stronger.

So he can sure as hell bear this now. Covered in his own blood, he straightens and takes a step forward, interposing himself between Asami and the others — between Asami and Nova. He grits his teeth and takes another breath, and raises his voice.


This time his voice is loud and clear, ragged with desperation and weariness held at bay. "You're not safe! Get to my car! Tell the driver 'Zarek'!" It's aimed at all three girls, but it's Nova that his eyes flicker to for a split second, and it's for Nova that he adds one last murmur, pitched for her ears alone. "Go…" he pleads.

Then his eyes are on Asami again. Watching. Waiting to see what her play is going to be. Maybe Asami's truly got herself under control again… but Isaac doubts that. He doubts it very much. He'd seen the look on her face, the instant before she'd come at him, but he'd let doubt slow him; now he's learned his lesson. Now he knows better. He's not going to risk it again. His trust in Asami Tetsuzan has been betrayed twice, and that is far more than enough. Now. Maybe Asami can fly, and maybe she can throw fireballs, and maybe she can make people melt into taffy and implode.

Irrelevant. Each and every one of those thoughts, irrelevant.

What is relevant is that she's not getting Nova while he's still breathing.

Asami's freeze of herself as she tries to recall what just happened to lead to Isaac on the ground bleeding takes the relevant time for him to scrabble away from her, looking down at her own hands, her knees after she stands. She was fine, of course. He was the one with injuries.

And god, was she thankful for his latent power. Had she known, instinctively, that he'd be just fine if only she helped him? It'd just redoubled her need for that … right?

Regret isn't something the compulsion is currently letting her feel, even though fear currently flickers its way over her face while she closes and reopens her hands. The length she'd just gone to wasn't something she meant to let happen. But… She decides to stand her ground, resuming an at ease expression. "I had to help him, and he wasn't going to listen. I'm— sorry things got how they did, but it would have been worse if I didn't finish. If everything wasn't back in place right. If you couldn't heal like you can now."

Even in the face of Isaac telling the others to flee she stands calm. "Everything's just fine now," she repeats, and holds her hands up to show she's not about to go attacking anybody else. "Again, I'm sorry. You're whole now, though. Fixed."

If only he hadn't had to fight her so much on it.

Jac flinches at the yelling, stiffening like she's about to run. But she doesn't. Wide eyed staring, trying to grasp what just happened, fleeing is taking a solid second place to understanding. She's done enough running away; she ran away from school when she was completely invisible, she ran away when Justice stretched and vanished. It's enough.

That doesn't keep the younger Petrelli from looking like a frightened rabbit. After all, she just witnessed her instructor pounce on the senator. There was blood involved.

But how different was that, what Asami just did to Isaac, than has been done in any of the fencing classes? Jac has experienced that sometimes you need to feel the intent in order to learn the lesson. Sometimes you need it, literally, beaten into you before you understand what you're being taught. And there are still things she wants to know.

“No.” The teen’s voice might shake a little, but she stands her ground. “No. I'm not going to. Maybe… maybe it's a little unorthodox, maybe Asami should have started with someone else first. But she did what she did and…” Jac moves, finally, but only so far as to clear the way for Brynn or Nova or Isaac if they choose to leave. “I still… I still want to know. I'm not going to run away this time.”

What Brynn is staring at as the combatants regain their feet, is Isaac. He is healed. That just happened, right? The others saw it too? She flinches at the shout to run, but they're all between her and the door, and the petite brunette is frozen by the same terrified curiosity that Jac is showing.

"If…. if she was going to hurt us, she could have done it," she tries to point out in a shaky voice. "Although… jumping on someone like that is a really bad plan." Brynn takes a step toward Isaac, her hand reaching out as if to touch where the glass evacuated his face. "You… you're healed." The awe in her voice is unmistakable. "There isn't even a scratch…"

Nova’s sudden fury doesn’t fade as Asami explains herself. She shakes her head, ready to argue more, but it’s that look that Isaac gives Nova that turns her rage to something else. Her brows draw together as if she’s in pain, and she sobs once, then takes a step or two toward the door. But that same something pulls her back, and she shakes her head. She isn’t going to leave him here to do something he’ll regret for the rest of his life, not when Nova can see that it’s not even for himself but for her.

“No,” she whispers.

That word marks Nova and Isaac’s first disagreement over something more serious than what condiment goes better on a sandwich or which Dean & DeLuca makes a better flat white.

“I’m not going to leave you here,” Nova continues after taking a shaky breath. Her voice is quiet but insistent, her tone emphatic, then pleading in turn. “You can’t fight her, not if she can fly and use fires and whatever else she’s able to do. Don’t do something you’ll regret, Isaac. Please. I’ll go but only if you go, too.”

Nova’s tearful gaze turns back to Asami. “You had no right.”

Asami's delusional rant only sees Isaac's lip curl in revulsion. When Jac speaks, though, Isaac can't believe what he's hearing — he doesn't dare take his eyes off Asami, but his jaw tightens and his shoulders square. Then Brynn, too. Isaac's eyes widen in utter disbelief. Brynn reaching for him sees him lean away, his expression shifting into one of revulsion. "Don't touch me," he chokes out through a throat that feels like it's trying to constrict to nothing; the very thought of someone laying hands on him right now makes his skin want to crawl right off his body. He'd rather be punched than touched at the moment, after what had happened.

Nova's refusal to leave banishes that from his mind, though, sees him stiffen. For a moment he doesn't speak, can't speak; his chest is so tight he can barely breathe. His heart trembles in his chest, and it feels to him as though it's turned to glass — a thing that can, in this moment, be irrevocably shattered by a single careless word…

…a word that never comes.

Isaac can't stop the twitch of his lip as Nova pleads for him to follow, to flee with her. "Go," he repeats, but now there's something softer in his tone. Then… Isaac takes a sliding step back — away from Asami. Towards Nova — still keeping himself interposed between Asami and Nova, but moving towards the door. "I'll be right behind you," he says gently. "And then by your side," he promises.

He takes another step. "You," he says to Asami, and his tone is worlds away from that gentle tone he'd used for Nova; there is an icy control in his tone, with deeper undercurrents of revulsion. "Don't say you're sorry. You're not. I know bullshit when I hear it; Congress, remember? And don't pretend you give two shits what it is you forced on me. It wouldn't have mattered to you if I'd ended up being able to call locusts, or with lava for blood, or killing everyone around me with radiation. The only thing you care about is your fix," he sneers.

He takes another step back, still not taking his eyes off Asami. "But it's not yours to decide I'm broken." Another step back, and another, his hand clenching tightly around the shard of glass he's holding. Asami might be able to get past him… but if she tries to violate Nova like she violated him, he'll kill her himself, and damn the consequences. He's already a dead man anyway.

Isaac takes another step back. "Jac. Brynn." Isaac hesitates, then shakes his head; if him being attacked and nearly killed in front of them isn't enough to convince them, he'd have better luck making a speech to a brick wall than trying to persuade them… and besides. He doesn't have time. "Goodbye," he says, his voice heavy. He takes another step back.

Even to Asami's own ears, she recognizes how miraculous a thing this is to have the support she does. Jac and Brynn defend her— but had they not seen how she jumped on him? Did they not see well from behind the struggle just how and where Isaac had been injured? No, she realizes. Most likely not. Not the same way Nova had. They only saw that he was fine.

Lucky for her.

Isaac takes her intention and twists the meaning of it hard, turning fix into fix, which finally shakes her resolve. Asami's shoulders slack, genuine regret finally reflecting in her expression. The dark of her eyes well with tears, shaken, overwhelmed with realization.

Is he right about her? Her well-meaning desires nothing more than a primal, addictive need draped in pretty clothing?

"When you're less mad…" even if it's rightfully so, "I hope we can speak again. I'm sorry, Isaac." And this time, something humbled and genuine reflects in it. "Y-you should at least clean up before you go. You're— you can't see it, but you're covered in blood." Something she seems to really grasp now as evidence of how far gone she was. "If you don't want people asking questions about you, where you've been, what happened to you…" Asami trails off hesitantly. The last thing she wants to appear like she's doing is blackmailing him, rather than expressing concern for his ability to cover up what he is now.

In some ways, he's got things much harder than she does, going forward.

She stays where she is, more or less, save for moving more to the side, well out of his and Nova's paths to the door. Asami looks between Jac and Brynn next, stressing again quietly, "I'm sorry."

Jac, who'd witnessed the struggle from behind Asami, might have been spared seeing the worst of what happened. Her memory wraps around the results, the messy but undamaged face that glares with anger and repulsion and whatever else Faulkner is feeling. Her own nervous fright and disbelief are all she has to offer the senator and Nova.

She seems at a loss even when they angle to leave that she hardly notices Asami moving. This is pretty close to what she'd been afraid of with just telling anyone about the weird things, but she plowed ahead anyway.

A glance goes to Brynn and then to Asami, almost surprised when her instructor speaks. “It's my fault too,” she expresses, blue eyes skimming away to the broken glass and mess of paint brushes. Because she's somewhat responsible. She'd agreed to dig into the topic with Nova, never expecting Isaac to show up also. “I should probably clean up.”

Brynn, too, only caught when Isaac's face hit the glass and he came up with it healing. She couldn't see anything except the grappling, which she is actually just as stunned by as anyone else but seems to think it was just a bad way to jump into whatever it is Asami's done. His repulsion doesn't make sense to her. She bites her lip. "Is… isn't being able to heal like that a good thing?" she asks.

The young woman has a mix of savvy and innocent that has her slanting a look at Nova. "I'm…" Gray eyes go back to Isaac and she seems lost. "I'm sorry." This happened in her home, where a girl she's begun to consider a friend and the senator are guests. It's bad manners. Her hands both come up to offer the wordless 'no threat' indication as she tries, "Senator… please, can we just all sit back down? Whatever…. whatever just happened, no one is going to jump at you again." She eyes Asami warily. RIGHT??

Back to Nova and Isaac. "We… we need to understand what this is. Why would… Asami says someone suppressed these things in her and now you and… maybe us too? Who could do something so.. conspiracy? How … how would 'they' even know people could do anything, which people can do stuff if it's not everyone, and who are 'they'? Why would they care if you could heal yourself… except maybe to experiment on you? Which, if they were doing that, it seems unlikely they'd just suppress what you can do and let you out in public to be a politician. I… I don't understand any of this," Bryan confesses.

Wide-eyed, heart hammering, Nova stares at Isaac, her gaze only unwavering now and then when someone else speaks, to flit in their direction, then back to him. She doesn’t argue this time when he tells her to go. She can see that dangerous look in his eyes, that shard of glass in his hand, and she knows Isaac will do what he feels he has to in order to protect her — even if she asked Asami to show her what’s been locked within her.

She only takes a step back when he does, keeping pace with him to back out of the room and toward the burnt foyer, one step at a time. She isn’t going to leave him here, and she isn’t going to stay without him.

As promised.

“It’s not your fault,” she murmurs softly to Jac and Brynn. Her blue eyes seek Asami next, most of the anger faded to a duller fire, embers still flickering in the heat of her gaze, but she nods in acknowledgment of her apology to Isaac, though it’s not Nova’s place to forgive her.

Faulkner's eyes narrow slightly, and for a moment — just a moment — his steady retreat slows. Asami's advice… isn't bad, under the circumstances. But… no. "No. No. Don't worry about me, Asami," he says. His voice is still hard, but the genuine regret he's seeing from her seems to have softened his anger at least a little, if not his distrust.

Brynn's comment draws Isaac's gaze to her, his eyes narrowing. "Well, I'd say there are two answers to that," he says. "In the short term, considering that I'd have bled to death from the glass she shoved in my throat by now if I hadn't been able to heal, then I suppose it is. It's given me awhile yet to live, at least," Faulkner says, in a mild, even tone betrayed only by the faintest of tremors in his voice. "But that's the other answer, Brynn. Because someone clearly does care. Someone who's able to send armed Federal agents in, apparently within minutes — before Asami even realized what she could do. Someone who's able to alter every camera feed in the Linderman building to consistently show something that, according to Asami's story, never happened — not an easy feat." He gives a harsh chuckle, his gaze shifting back to Asami, a bitter smirk on his lips. "Ask my cybersecurity specialist if you don't believe me."

The humor dies almost immediately. "If they didn't care, why would they do that? And if they do care… how long do you think I have before I have a tragic accident? How long do you think any of you have before men with guns come for you too, if she does to you whatever it is she's done to me? Do you think you would be able to live a normal life? Ever again?" He shakes his head. "Maybe they won't come after me right away. But do you really think that if they came after Asami as hard as she's saying, that they'll just ignore the ones she's done this to?"

Faulkner shakes his head. "So no. No, I will not be staying. The time for discussion, I'm afraid, has passed. The world is still turning, and I have work to do, and the less evidence there is that I was ever here for this, the better," he says flatly. "For all concerned. And… even setting aside the unpleasantness… I… am not really in much of a state to contribute to any sort of discussion at this point," he admits, letting out a shaky breath. He takes another step back, then hesitates, gaze flickering back to Brynn. "I'll keep looking into the situation with Ms. Quinn. Should I find anything, I'll let you know. And should either of you find yourself in need of assistance… I can't promise anything, but the Linderman Group will provide what it can. So long as I'm alive, anyway, for however long that may be," he says.

His eyes come back to Asami, though, watching her, watching her — she's in that non-aggressive posture again, but she'd done that once before, hadn't she? He doesn't trust it this time, anymore than he'd trust a basket of snakes with a sign saying pet me. He takes another step back. "Don't worry about me, Asami. You worry about yourself. Or better yet — worry about them." He takes another step back; he's in the foyer now. Nearly there. He hesitates. "Goodbye," Faulkner says again, and takes another step back, towards the door. Then another, and another. Through the door, and out.

Choices have consequences, and seeing them both go— seeing a potential ally to her leave with barely-tempered animosity for her— stills the wind in Asami's sails.

Her feet shift on the floor in the silence that follows Faulkner and Nova's exit, and she hears the crunch of ceramic under her foot. Only then does she look away from the doorway, blinking down at the ground. "Shit," she acknowledges the mess she made, a little overwhelmed for the moment.

Asami looks back up to the Petrelli girls in apology. "I know that didn't go well, but if… if you both still want me to show you what was taken from you, I can. Now, or later, or…" never, if they wished, after all that just happened. She shakes her head to herself, running a hand back through her hair.

A glance from Jac picks up Nova’s acknowledgement. Her brows furrow slightly, apologetic. But she doesn't act on it, or speak up further. Especially after Isaac drives home his opinion. She turns, when the senator begins speaking again, and sinks onto her knees amidst the mess or brushes and broken glass to pick through what can be salvaged.

It keeps her occupied, gives her space and time to reflect on what she saw, what everyone claims happened. Bled to death echoes in her thoughts, and it's hard to decide if that happened or if it's just the emotion of the moment. There was the blood, but there was also uninjured flesh. Healed, like her sister said.

The brushes are set into a pile of their own. Larger pieces of glass make a second, sort of marking the area where smaller shards are most likely. Jac stills when she hears the door open and close with Nova and Faulkner’s departure. But when Asami speaks, she angles a quick look at Brynn before answering her instructor.

“Yes.” Terrified, in the way one probably is jumping from a plane the first time, but the younger Petrelli stands, abandoning the half-hearted attempts at cleaning to step clear of the glass and broken things. Her eyes flick to her sister again before lifting to meet Asami’s. “I don't know what… I didn't see, but… but I don't think you… I know you weren't trying to kill him. Right?”

Asami interjects immediately with a shake of her head, "No! I— no, I didn't mean to hurt him." She turns to Brynn next, hesitant but also seeking her take as well.

Brynn didn't realise how bad it was. And she is stunned by the bleeding to death accusation, struggling to take in what's been said and what they've seen. She swallows hard.

"Do it," she tells Asami tightly. "If it's something dangerous, … I'll have to figure it out. But if someone out there is doing things to people and we're in danger of being targets… I don't really feel like being a victim. I — we —" she casts a look at her little sister, "have to look out for Mom. And if the Senator is right and they're watching anyone they might have experimented on? Mom is a target now, just because she's already been implicated."

Asi's presence alone guarantees that Kaylee is in deep shit without even knowing it. Brynn bites her lip and looks down, suddenly insecure about why her mom and dad even took her in, and later Jac too. Did her dad know about all of this and he got kidnapped or even killed trying to keep them safe?

"Okay," Asami answers after a long pause. Her voice is heavy with that choice, of its implications and trust. She steps away from the blood-covered ceramic toward Jac, her hands flexing by her side. Her earlier excitement is a far more refined thing, her movements careful as she crouches in front of the redhead. "The most important thing you can do is stay calm. Don't— do what Isaac did. Or Gillian."

Still, the moment she looks deep into Jac's eyes and lifts her hands to the young woman's temples, she feels the pull in her gut. A magnetism to complete her task. Her pupils widen, and her irises violently flash back to that molten gold.

It starts as a building pressure behind Jac’s eyes. A blossoming pressure that slowly builds into a cacophony of noises that rattles her thoughts. Jac feels her heart racing as intrusive thoughts flood her mind; whispering insecurities that come from every direction, murmurations of doubt and uncertainty about her well-being, if this is a good idea, and—

—and they’re not her voice.


Jac’s heart skips a beat when she realizes she’s hearing Brynn in her head, then Nova, then—a screech. The noise like a microphone pointed back at a speaker blasts through both Jac and Asami’s minds at once. It causes them both to recoil from one-another, the discomfort rattling tooth-deep in their heads. Reflexively staggering away from one-another, until enough distance is reached that neither feels their skull about to split open.

The pain subsides, and it’s there that Jac feels the pressure normalizing, and the whispering voices around her more clearly defined. But shutting them out is hard, like listening to someone talk while wearing headphones with the volume too high. It’s terrifying, alien, and overwhelming.

Jac’s eyes widen as the pressure starts to build, at first wondering — fearing — that it’s an attack. Faulkner’s anger and insistence that Asami had just tried to kill him is a very fresh memory. Her heart makes a leap in panic as the mounting tension, now voices and whispers flood over her own internal dialogue, and she starts to lean backward, begins trying to pull away.

Her eyes squint at Asami as she raises her hands. She reaches toward the woman’s wrists, stopping short as she recognizes the voices. She flicks a look to one side and then the other, snagging quick glances meant for Brynn and the departing Nova. Neither look lasts more than a second and all her focus is brought back to Asami as a piercing whine stabs through every inch and ounce of her brain.

Her hands then clutch at her head as she stumbles backward. For a beat she stares at nothing, says nothing, until the pain eases.

And the voices return.

Jac’s hands drop and she turns, as if expecting to see someone at her shoulder speaking. She turns again. Panic trickles as she swings around a third time, unable to stop the voices or pinpoint a singular speaker. Her hands come up again as she sinks onto the floor, pressing both palms against her ears, eyes squeezing shut.

"Shit," Brynn breathes out. She almost never uses profanity in any form, but her alarm is very clear in her tone. "Mom's gonna kill all of us."

She's afraid to touch Jac, but her worry communicates itself just fine. She squats down to look into her little sister's face. "Jac? Jac, talk to me!" Please be okay! I know we fight sometimes but I really like having a sister! Please please be okay!

Asami's eyes widen, pupils narrowing, head turning left then right to try and follow the trace of the sounds. Her hand halfway lifts to her head, distracted but still on her feet. What is this? She listens in wonder, her head tilting when the pain passes. She acclimates, intimates. She adjusts, at least enough she can cope with the new reality— the new ability— better than poor Jac currently is. She's able to focus through the noise.

Her head turns slowly back to where the girl is when Brynn drops down by her side, eyes still gleaming the unnatural glow of her ability, if not as powerfully at the moment she twisted the broken piece within Jac back into proper place. The compulsion is still there, intoxicating, quelling patience and self-awareness for now.

"Hey, hey hey…" Asami croons soothingly. "It's gonna be all right." Her steps take her back closer, slowly, mindful to not get as close as she did before. But she risks increasing the feedback loop in order to get close enough to Brynn again. "She's just fine. She'll need a minute," maybe more, "to get used to things…" Her hands remain out from her sides, slowly lifting.

Instead of reaching out in a comforting gesture to Jac, they slip to Brynn's temples.

Each time Asami alters the consciousness of a person in her proximity it becomes easier, simpler, more enjoyable. It is like solving a puzzle faster over time, because the puzzle isn’t changing. All it takes for Asi to change Brynn is a single touch to her forehead, and a moment later Brynn falls to the floor as if she’d been shot in the side of the head.

When Brynn hits the floor she—falls through it.

Brynn spins end over end, falling through the studio floor and dropping out of the basement ceiling as though a trap door had been pulled out from under her. She lands with a crash in a pile of cardboard boxes and old furniture tucked away below the studio floor. An old, shadeless incandescent light on a string swings back and forth in the ceiling, creating dancing shadows.

As Brynn looks down at her hands, they momentarily appear ghostly and ephemeral, before solidifying. As her fear and panic spike, so too does her insubstantial nature. When she is calm, she is stable—solid. But right now, she flickers between the material and the immaterial.


She doesn't know exactly what's happening as she is suddenly falling. Instinctively screaming, Brynn's landing silences that reaction. She lays there with the wind knocked out of her, staring at her hands going in and out of corporeality. "Ohgodohgodohgod!!" Her breath comes in short gasps, and she tries to scramble out of the pile of junk, groaning a little because of the hard landing. That's gonna leave a few bruises.

As she makes her way free, she freaks out just a little bit more each time she phases through something instead of climbing over it. "Jac! Jac, where are you?!" She has to reorient herself to the basement and with her heart racing, she tries to figure out how to climb the steps without falling through. "Asami!! Jac!!" She is actually shouting, something Brynn has literally never done.

Well, that happened.

On the first floor, Asami is watching her hands flicker in and out of substance. It's fascinating, once she gets past a stab of fear maybe she's done too much at once. There's definitely relief present there's no one else left for her to fix. Except… Nova.

But that's a later problem.

She lifts her head to Jac, hearing muffled sounds from below, and hearing Brynn's panicked thoughts that accompany them much clearer. "Focus on Brynn, Jac," she encourages her student. "Let your voice whisper to hers. Let her know she's okay. That you're both okay."

"You've got this," Asami states more sternly. "This is your power. You can handle it."

The frantic thoughts coming off her sister feeds Jac’s already overwhelmed senses. She doesn't respond to Brynn’s questions, and Asami’s assurances are likewise ignored. Even the elder Petrelli girl becoming fixed goes unnoticed, when she literally falls through the floor. And all she can do hearing her sister’s own panicked screaming is cringe and fold her arms around her head.

But then there’s Asami’s calm and patient instruction. It's equally intrusive when all the teenager wants to do is shut down and end the nightmare. But it's an anchor against the buffeting terror, a direction to turn to even though she doubts she can follow it.

“Brynn?” Her voice strains as she forces her thoughts to her sister’s. Jac lifts her head slightly, seeking Asami’s guidance even as she wills assurances to Brynn. It's okay, everyone is okay now.

Brynn's mind is racing over only a couple of things — fear that she is no longer real, just a ghost sliding through walls and floors, and a pounding fear for Jac, because the last sight she had of her sister was the girl trying to turtle back into her safe place in her mind. Into her own form of Silence, where she shuts out everything until she can cope.

And it's that latter fear that drives her up the stairs, even though she misses several — or rather, she sticks her foot through several — as she desperately climbs. It's tough to time her steps to the moments when she's actually solid!! Every moment, she's scared to death she's going to tumble through the floor again. But she is determined to get to her little sister, no matter what.

"Focus," Asami encourages Jac a touch more gently, but with all the same firmness of direction as before. She can't hear Brynn's struggle to get back upstairs with her ears— yet, at least— but she hears the frantic determination of the elder Petrelli girl to make the first floor again.

"Don't use your normal voice," she instructs. "Use…" One hand lifts to tap the side of her own head.

Frustration manifests into a groan, and Jac presses her hands to the floor. She turns, twisting away from Asami’s insistence to visually search for the answers that are hiding inside herself.

“Brynn.” It's whispered. Blue eyes scour the open space in the middle distance. Brynn! Her own inside voice echoes the whispered outer one, crashing through the distracting noise and thoughts belonging to everyone else.

Jac swings a look to Asami, standing as she does. Brynn we’re okay. Her hands hold slightly to her sides, as if undecided if she needs the extra balance or to maybe focus her voice. We’re… Her brows knit slightly as she watches her instructor. You need to focus. Just focus and… and you can do it.

Is that…? Brynn pauses on her way up the stairs, stunned to immobility by Jac's voice … in her head? It sounds so different than what she can hear with the implant. So much more robust and richer in textures. It feels like Jac in a way that the auditory signals can't possibly translate, and there's a flash of joy at hearing her sister this way.

She scrambles up the last stairs and makes her way shakily back to the front room, still shocked. "Jac? Did you really….?" Can you hear me?

She is in awe of what Asami has done and she looks at the woman with an expression torn between gratitude and terror. This kind of thing is not supposed to be real!

Asami slowly begins to smile when she sees the acts of focus go into play, sees Jac start to come back from being overwhelmed by the sounds around her. When Brynn makes her way back through the door to confirm Jac's tap into her power had been a success, the smile spreads further.

"Don't worry," she assures Brynn, the prior foul experience momentarily overshadowed by her excitement for this better present. "We'll figure this out." She closes her eyes for a moment to channel her focus toward the ability that had taken the older Petrelli girl through the floor, demonstrating it on herself by laying the fingers of one hand against her forearm and phasing them through it.

"Together," Asami promises.

They were navigating uncharted territory the lot of them now, nothing as easy as paint-by-numbers to guide them, even with Asami's intuition to help color in understanding. They'd figure it out, though— the two sisters sure to have each other even if the resident fugitive did part ways with them eventually.

And as for Faulkner… well.

Only time would tell what he would do with the gift forced upon him here.


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