How Many Eggs


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Scene Title How Many Eggs
Synopsis … make the difference between heroism and villainy? Peyton opens up a little about her experiences in the past and gives Wes advice for any future time travel.
Date October 2, 2010

Redbird Security Wes' Apartment

It's been two weeks since Peyton worked in the Redbird building — or it will be tomorrow. She came to the building with the plan to get some work done, to talk to Cardinal, to put the past once more firmly behind her. But as she approached the building two hours earlier, with the intentions of working, she knew her head wasn't in that place, and instead of entering the offices, she took the side entrance, heading to Wes' apartment to hide out from the world for just another day.

When knocking yielded no answer, she let herself in, greeting Carson with scritches and kisses, and made herself at home.

When Wes arrives home, the television is audible through the door, alerting him to someone's presence inside. Burglars don't usually watch the television while they're robbing you blind, so the chances are it's the one person with the key to the apartment. Peyton, despite the loud volume of the TV, is curled up on the sofa, one arm loosely around Carson who is curled up with her, sleeping soundly.

The sound is intriguing enough that Wes pauses to take the pistol from his right ankle before he unlocks and opens the door. A corner of the couch is visible from the doorway, but it's not the corner wherein Pey has tucked herself. Shutting the door as quietly as he can behind him, Wes inches along the wall that makes up the small nook of a dining room area, where the small round table and four chairs have been since he moved in, and peeks around the corner of the wall into the living room.

Carson opens one eye, clearly unpreturbed at his master's arrival home. He goes out. He comes in. But the dog is comfortable and tired. Wes smirks at the scene before he turns back toward the table, the distinct click of the firearm audible as he goes about making it safe once more and unloading the clip. It's followed by the screech of Velcro, and then Wes is crossing to the closet to stow his defensive line.

"Somethin' wrong with your set?" he asks while still hidden by the closet door. And even though Peyton can't see his face, it's clear enough by his tone that he's smiling.

The loud volume of the show, some cop movie with brakes screeching and horns blaring in a car chase, doesn't wake Peyton. The door opening and shutting doesn't wake him. But her head instantly pops up at the clicking of the gun's safety, heart pounding as she glances around at her surroundings, remembering where she is. When she is.

"I was going to work but I wasn't quite ready to," she says, stretching as she pulls one foot beneath her, moving into a sitting position. "I came to pester you, but you apparently went out to get all beautified or something," she says with a grin, then pushes off the sofa to move toward him. One hand reaches for his jaw, fingers touching the soft skin. "I thought you were gonna grow a beard or something," she teases lightly.

Wes catches Peyton's hand when she touches the newly shaven skin, turning his face to place a kiss on her palm. "I think my rugged good looks'r rugged enough without a soupcatcher," he says with a smile. "Why," he adds, leaning away from her and narrowing his eyes as he searches her face. "You liked it?" How could she? But the grin is back soon enough, even if he has to let go of her hand to shut the closet door.

"You own half'uh this business," he reminds, her, leading her back toward the couch for comfort's sake as much as to satisfy his curiosity regarding her choice of background noise. "You're allowed to take a day off. And if Cardinal gives you shit about it, y'just send him t'see me. I'll set 'im straight."

She shakes her head. "He didn't tell me to come in, and he doesn't know I was going to. It's nothing like that," she says quietly, curling back up in the corner of the sofa. "I was going to try to catch up on whatever I've missed, but…"

Her dark eyes turn away, moving to the television where the car chase continues, ridiculous stunt after ridiculous stunt leading to the front car jumping a lift bridge in mid-lift while the chasing car misses the jump and ends up in some dirty harbor.

Peyton shrugs one shoulder. "I don't really feel up to explaining things yet," she murmurs, moving to lean her head on his shoulder and sighing softly. It's not a sigh of pain, but merely weariness, at least. "And no, I like the baby face clean cut look better," she adds, tilting her head to kiss his cheek.

As Peyton snuggles close, Wes wraps an arm around her, the other stretching to give Carson a salutatory scratch and rub behind the ears. The old dog lets out a happy sigh before he flops over onto his side. Wes obliges by giving the dog a few bellyrubs before fully embracing Peyton as she kisses him. He lets out his own version of Carson's happy sigh, but his is more of a hum. "Baby face?" he asks, squinting at her even as he runs fingers through her hair to better tuck it behind her ear.

"You'll have plenty'uh time to play catchup," he says, dismissing his mock-offense almost as soon as he conjured it up. "But I think things've been pretty quiet since you've been gone. I mean, I did see Cardinal packin' an arsenal on his person, but I 'spect that's pretty normal for him."

"When was that? He was supposed to go to the past a couple of days after I did — I hope everything went all right," Peyton murmurs, her brows knitting beneath her bangs.

"God. I don't … there's no way those people who are changing things haven't already changed so many things, Wes. Even if we stop them from doing whatever we're supposed to stop them from doing, just being there and having them there, it's … it's got to be changing things. I'm so afraid that something will happen, that something will be different, and I don't even know it because it never happened — I mean, what if like suddenly tomorrow I see Faye, and she doesn't even know me, because somehow between today and tomorrow someone went back to the past and undid something…"

Peyton's whispery low voice trails off as she shakes her head, closing her eyes and burrowing her face against his chest. It's too much to try to think about. She doesn't know she is voicing in her rambling way the very worries he's lived with over the past two weeks.

It's because of that that Wes shifts to frame Peyton's face with his hands and pull her away from his chest so he can look her in the eye. He swallows, his chest tightening slightly when he does so, but he doesn't let his eyes wander from hers. "You keep thinkin' like that, and y'gonna go nuts." He wants to say trust me, but he leaves it off. "Only way t'stop people like that is to remove'um from the equation." He shakes his head, letting his eyes close for just a moment.

"Bullet in the brain. They believe in somethin' that strong, like goin' and muckin' about in the past, well…y'can't fight that. Y'can't change it. Y'just have to stop 'em. But you've done your part, and… hell, Pey, I'm not lettin' you out my damn sight again if you go trompin' around again."

"I tried to kill them," Peyton whispers. "I missed." There will be more gun practice later, now that she's not terrified to shoot the thing.

"Maybe I can try to find them — using my power — if they come back to this time, if I can tell where they are, maybe someone — maybe I can kill them." Her voice is flat, even as she talks about something as chilling as murdering another human being — or several, from the sound of it. The sorrow is fading, replaced by an anger. Her jaw sets as she considers the plan.

"Maybe," Wes says with a glimmer of a smile returning to his features. He rubs a thumb across her cheek and lets his eyes wander from hers to the other parts of her face. "We'll have t'make you a crack-shot, first. Sergeant Peyton York." The idea of Peyton killing someone doesn't seem to bother him at all. In fact, he seems pleased at the notion of her exerting such a will.

"But even York had an army backin' him up." He pulls her closer then, sacrificing the ability to look at her for the opportunity to hold her tightly.

"The woman — she can dodge a bullet, she moves so fast, super reflexes I think, so I don't think I can do it alone. I almost had her because I acted like I wasn't shooting her and it surprised her — it'd take lots of people, too many to doge, or surprise to take her down," she continues, clearly not getting his allusion.

"Then there's an old man — I … I would have shot him, but he was too close to Wendy, and he's old and on an oxygen tank. Albert shot him, though — right before they disappeared. The other guy pulled a knife on Wendy — they lied to her, they told her they'd save her life if she came with them, and then he did that." She isn't crying about it. The tears are spent. Her voice is steely as she lets her anger fill her instead.

Peyton suddenly lifts her head to peer into his eyes, her dark hair falling across her face. "If they come to you, don't believe them, all right? I don't know what they're trying to undo, I don't think it'd be anything to do with me, but God, I don't know why Wendy and why Winslow, so why not you? If they come to you, don't listen. They might tell you I'm in danger or that they can keep me from dying or I don't know what else, but don't believe them."

"Alright," Wes says with a nod, his face wrinkled with worry. It's what she needs to hear, but at the same time, he can't be sure, if given the opportunity and the compulsion to save Peyton from something, he wouldn't act on instinct. As for anything else he may be given the chance to change, well…

That would change the present too much. Paradoxes and the like would potentially keep him away from Peyton, or else hurt others currently unknown to him. He swallows, then leans to kiss her unmarred temple. "I won't," he whispers, keeping his face close. "But that means I get t'try to keep your ass alive in the present. Fair?"

She nods, her soft skin and hair moving up and down against his face as he holds her close. "It's a deal," she says, the lifting of her cheek against his jawline letting him know she is smiling, despite the somber topic they discuss.

"If Hiro or Rhys come to you, or if you get a paper crane," she continues, "be sure to ask questions, before you leave. Don't go in blind like I did — I didn't know anything and it … it was really bad. I don't want that to happen to you. I don't want you to go at all but I know — I know if they ask you, you'll do what you think is right, so I won't ask you not to go, if it's something that you need to do."

"I need to teach you how to shoot s'you won't waste ammo," he says with a small smile. "Not that you should be puttin' yourself in places where y'need to shoot. But it ain't dumb to be prepared." The talk of Hiro and Rhys and paper cranes makes him sigh, and he closes his eyes as he rubs her back with his hands and gives her a light squeeze. After a moment, his jaw tightens, and he opens on eye to look down at what he can see of her cuddled so close to him.

"If they came t'you again," he muses, his voice soft, "what would you do? The fellas that came t'you before. If they came t'you again, wantin' you to do somethin' else, would you?" The example she gave him had to do with saving her, but would she do the same for him? He doesn't expressly ask it, but the subtext is there, slinking like a sly fox through the cover of the words.

She pushes up to a sitting position, drawing her knees up to wrap her arms around, staring ahead. Her brow furrows as she considers the question posed. The very idea of going back into the past and all its dangers — dangers for herself, for the people she's trying to protect, and to the very fabric of her present and the future — is one that terrifies her.

She nods slowly. "Rhys lied to me," she murmurs. "But what they're trying to do is right, and if those other people are trying to hurt someone that's important to me, I'm going to do what I can to stop them." Peyton's chin wobbles a little as if she might begin to cry, but she tightens her jaw. "But I don't think they'd ask me again. I was … I didn't… all I did was make mistakes."


Wes's voice may be soft when he deliverers his retort, but it carries a razor-edge intensity. "If all you did was make mistakes, how the hell are you sittin' here with me right now?" He sighs, remaining where he is for a moment before he reaches to retrieve the remote from the coffee table and switch off the television. "You said this guy Rhys was one of the ones t'be trusted. So if he lied to you, then how does that make him any better'n the people who went after your dad?" He shakes his head and grumbles something unintelligible before he stands, tossing the remote down on the couch in the process.

Wes lifts a hand to run through his newly cut hair on his way toward the kitchen. "It's all too damned complicated, and it's got you knotted up for no good reason. Y'didn't change anythin'. If y'did, y'wouldn't be here."

"Because they weren't after Winslow. Rhys — Rhys thought he was giving me time with my father, and he lied to me to get me to find Winslow and have that time, instead of just finding Zarek, who was the one they were trying to kill." It sounds ridiculous, which is one of the reasons she wasn't planning on trying to explain it. "I screwed everything up, but it still worked out — I guess. I don't know. I probably changed something, I just don't know what."

She closes her eyes and rubs her healing temple ruefully, remembering how and why she got it. "And then they brought me to Wendy's… and when the guy showed up, I thought he was there to kill Winslow, when really he was there to grab Wendy. I screwed up. And because of that…" Because of that, her last memories with Wendy are unhappy ones, casting a shadow on the ones that should have been the last moments with her friend — the moments talking about her beating her addiction. The ones singing 'Here Comes the Sun' in the frigid storm.

"Trust me. Rhys is just a kid, Wes. He lied, but he did it with good intentions, and I know, the path to hell and all that, but he can't be older than maybe 17, and he's just a kid, and he thought he was doing me a favor. The people who are trying to mess everything up — they're not doing it for good reasons. The woman, she basically said as much. That the world is shit, and she didn't care what she might be doing to anyone's lives."

The sounds from the kitchen are those of clinking glassware and running water. When Wes reappears, he has two tumblers full of water, and he holds one out to Peyton. "Y'gotta be one sick bastard to go t'all that trouble," he says, his brows furrowed and the corners of his eyes and mouth wrinkled in a frown. "Better ways to wipe the world clean then undoin' time. Less risk involved, too." Not that he has any practical experience.

Rather than rejoin Peyton on the couch, he perches on the arm of it and takes a sip of his water, staring into the middle distance. "Could be they're tryin' to do what y'all are - makin' the future better. Only they don't have s'many qualms on how it gets done. They're breakin' more eggs'thn they need to make an omelette."

Maybe that's the entire difference between who is a hero and who is a villain - how many eggs you're willing to break.

Reaching for the glass, Peyton nods, then sips from it slowly. "Just be careful. If you see a woman with an eye-patch or an old guy with an oxygen cannister or a dark haired guy who looks like a 50 year old emo kid…" she shrugs. He can fill in the end of that sentence with whatever he feels aligns with his sense of ethics.

"Speaking of omelettes," Peyton uses his analogy to change the subject, "where do you want to go for dinner? You look too good to keep indoors."

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