How To Leave A Petrelli Speechless


peter_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title How To Leave A Petrelli Speechless
Synopsis Helena manages to leave Peter speechless no less than three times. Because she's awesome.
Date September 7, 2008

Condemned Tenement - Abandoned Apartment

This apartment looks to have been left untended for years. It's a modest sized studio apartment, opening up from the doorway to both sides. An old, ratty couch rests just across from the door, patched up with pieces of denim over the worn and faded fabric. The cushions look to have seen much abuse, and though they're repaired to some extend by re-stiching, they are still unevenly stuffed. In front of the couch, between it and the far wall is a lopsided coffee table. It's frame is metal, likely was once glass-topped as well, but the entire top of the table has been replaced by a sheet of particle-board with a plastic tarp thrown over it and held in place by heavy-duty staples. The four windows that line the wall opposite of the doorway are all busted out, two of them are boarded up, and all but one is covered with clear plastic that is stapled to the window frame.

Not far from the entrance, a small kitchenette rests in disrepair. The stove doesn't look to have been used in a long time, and with a portion of the ceiling having collapsed down onto it, for good reason. While the debris is neatly stacked — pieces of plaster, wood and sheet-rock stacked a foot high — it clearly seems to be hastily done. The L-shaped counter adjacent to the stove features a mini-fridge that isn't plugged in, and water-stains on the faux-marble countertop.

Beyond the kitchenette is what was likely the apartment's bedroom. A pair of matresses have been laid on the floor, with a folding screen placed between that area and the kitchenette. The screen looks newer and in better condition than the room, though portions of it are scuffed and torn. The bed is made with not only sheets, but also a heavy brick-red quilt that looks to have been hand-made. A small, uncomfortable looking pillow crowns off the arrangement. From the looks of it, no one lives here.

It has only been one night, but it still had taken its toll on Peter. Standing by the one window not covered up with clear plastic, he leans against the window frame, staring out to the vacant lot behind the tenement building. There are so many things that he has to consider, now that he's stopped running, and none of them are welcomed. This apartment, for starters, was cold at night and too hot during the day to be comfortable. No running water, no electricity, no heat. It was on the farthest end of the "safe" side of the building, and it was abandoned simply because it lacks those creature comforts. He was staying here, not out of enjoyment, but out of a sense of obligation. Helena was entirely right, PARIAH needed to see him, needed to feel that he is a part of things.

Peter's coat is thrown over the back of the ratty old couch in the middle of the apartment, and by the window he's unbuttoned and rolled up the sleeves of the dress shirt he wears. It's wrinkled and creased, looking as slept-in as it had the day prior. The same goes for his slacks, now though they're also accompanied by a fair amount of dark red lint, the same shade as the quilt on the nearby bed. It is, however, necessity, and Peter reminds himself of this as he stares out into the distance, thinking of somewhere else he could be right now…

"Peter?" Helena's voice comes from the doorway, perhaps haphazardly left open. And that's where she's standing with a laundrey basket in her hands. The contents don't seem to be laundrey entirely, though there are some towels folded at the bottom and some items which may be clothes. It's smaller boxes, some of them recognizably non-perishable food. "I'd heard you took this apartment but I didn't believe it until now." She moves past the threshold. "I brought you some things…and I'll ask some of the guys to make sure you can pick up some hot water and electric. I brought you some stuff…" she steps in further. "Peter?" she prompts again, gently.

Silence hangs over Peter as he looks from the window to Helena as she enters. His eyes move from her to the contents of the basket she carries, then back up, "You didn't have to do that." Turning from the window, Peter slides his hands into his pockets, walking across the floor to stand by the sofa. "I don't need the water or electricity, don't worry about it." He shakes his head dismissively, eyes flitting over to one of the plastic covered windows, "Thanks for stopping by…" His brow tenses, and he rests against the back of the sofa, staring off towards the peeling, canary-yellow paint on the walls.

Helena grins. "Oh, I'm sorry. Are we in the self-inflicted misery phase now? Self-flagellation went out in the Dark Ages, you know." A thoughtful pause. "Except in some very specific clubs over in the Village." With a shrug, she moves to perch down on her knees next to the couch and starts unpacking the laundry basket. Well, if unpacking things means throwing them haphazardly at the man on the couch. "Brought you a blanket and some sheets, sorry they're sort of institution pea soup green…a few towels so you can shower, and oh hey, body wash." She lifts it up and presents it with a Price As Right flourish. This gets set to the side. "I scrounged some sweatpants and a tee so you don't have to look like James Bonds' illegitimate brother anymore…oh, and ummm…" She plucks out a tightly lidded bowl, as well as a spoon. "When did you last eat? If you're very very good, I'll score you a beer from upstairs. Mmm, beer." This last is offered like she's dangling a doggy treat, though the wry curve of her mouth suggests it's an offer of shared humor rather than an effort to be condescending. "Seriously, Peter. Just because we want to upset the status quo is no reason to go all Opus Dei about it." Another pause. "What? I saw the movie."

Peter tilts his head to the side as Helena prattles on as she does, an amused smirk creeping up at one corner of his lips. As she itemizes and sets things aside, explaining each and ever one, Peter just watches her with mild fascination — both at her ability to speak at lengths about almost nothing at all, and for the amount of care she went into picking everything. Peter's brows raise, and he raises one hand in silence, pointing over to the — last Helena knew — bare bed. There is was covered with a pair of sheets and a brick red quilt. "I picked up necessities," He almost sounds apologetic, "The thought counts though." His eyes divert to the body wash, then back, "As for a beer…" He seems thoughtful for a moment, brow tensing like he's considering something — he's gone. Vanished in the blink of an eye.

"Want one?" An arm dangles from behind Helena, two bottles in hand, both dangling by the neck between his fingers. They were cold, still damp, and tiny pieces of crushed ice were sliding down the side. They weren't the ones from in the tenement either. "Really, Helena, I appreciate it… But I can take care of myself." He doesn't look like he can, half of the time.

Helena accepts the beer with an easily murmured thanks. Someone willing to die for her cause should be allowed to have a beer. She lets out a little snort at his declaration. "I'm not trying to mommy you or anything, but taking care of yourself is the last thing you seem to be managing." She gives a one shouldered shrug. "I can go away, if you want. You know, to be alooone." She flutters a hand to her head in a mocking gesture of melodrama. Pulling her knees to her chest, she takes a swig of her beer. "I don't mean to be pushy." she says, serious at last.

A resigned sigh escapes Peter as he walks around Helena, then moves to sit down near her on the floor, with his back pressed up to the sofa. "I know." His eyes divert to the floor, while the cap of his bottle pops off without so much as a hand near it. The cap flutters thorugh the air, hitting the floor with a clatter. "I'm just — " He hesitates, lifting the bottle up and taking a sip before lowering it again. "I've got a lot on my mind, and it makes it hard to sweat the little things…" With his gaze wandering the worn and scuffed wood floor, Peter grows silent for a short while, sips of his beer interspersed over the time.

"That thing I asked you about yesterday," His voice is quieter this time, "Her name's Cat. She's a musician…" He considers that for a moment, "Among other things. I… told her some stuff, personal stuff." He looks back up to Helena, watching her carefully. "I trusted her with some things about me that nobody else knows, and… I don't know, maybe I'm starting to feel something for her." He clearly understates how he feels, it's evident in his tone of voice. "Sounds simple enough, right? Run to the girl, but it's not." Furrowing his brow, the scarred Petrelli looks away from Helena, up to the peeling paint on the wall by the door. "I have this thing we're trying to do, all these hopes and lives counting on me." His eyes close, "Then I have all these conflicting feelings…" He doesn't elaborate. "It's hard."

She'd be lying if there wasn't a bit of disapointment there. She swallows it down - after all, she's almost ten years his junior, and their relationship to others also complicates things. She's like a kid sister, right? She's used to it, that's how it is between her and pretty much all the PARIAH members. So she takes that moment, takes a breath, and lifts her eyes to his with a smile. "But we're all counting on each other." she says. "And everyone's connected and inter-dependent no matter what state the world is in. What kind of conflict are you having? Maybe if you can lay it out a little, you can see it better."

It takes him a moment to form the right words, "You're distracting." Perhaps not the best words, but they were from the heart, as it were. Another sip from his bottle, the bottom swinging up with the swig, then down again, and Peter casts his eyes over to Helena. "The alleyway, I don't know what it was." His brow tenses as he tries to figure it out again, "There's something about you that…" He smiles a bit awkwardly, "It's hard to kick out of my head," Then a bit more ruefully, "More so, as of late." With his eyes diverting to the floor, Peter continues, his words soft and quiet. "When I showed you the sky, that afternoon, let you see what it was like to fly… and then you…" He laughs, awkwardly, "I don't know, there's something there." When he looks back up, it's clear Peter's having issues speaking to the point. He tries, though, "You're the conflict." It comes out more harsh than he intends, "I couldn't… I…" But in the end, he dithers and looks away, down to the floor again. "You made me hesitate."

Oh. "Oh." She's visibly gone into a moment of TILT, and lapses silent again. That seems to be a habit of hers, time taken to weigh what she's going to say before coming out with it. "I…don't want to make problems with you. But I'd be lying," she says carefully, "If I said there wasn't anything," she gestures vaguely between them and laughs a touch darkly. "God, that sounds mature." She quiets again, another moment of consideration. "I want to tell you that if you hesitated, then it means something, but the fact that you were in a situation that required you to hesitate means something too. I don't know who you are, I want to know more, and I don't feel like I have this big need to force you into making a decision about something like this no matter how I feel or how I think I feel. It's not like there's an expiration date on anyone's feelings, right?" She presses her hands to her forehead, leaning her elbows against her knees. "Ugh! I sound so frickin' reasonable."

Peter listens, trying not to laugh as Helena rambles towards the end, but he can't stop from cracking a smile, "You're both so opposite of one another." Peter shakes his head, reaching up to run on ehand over the top of his head, smoothing his hair into place. It was a nervous, perhaps anxious gesture. "Most everyone doesn't know who I am," He hesitates, "Even Claire." With that said, Peter grows silent as he finishes the beer, settling it down on the floor beside him. "There's more than just that, though. The last person I cared about — the last person I had any shred of feelings for," Peter closes his eyes, bending his legs and resting his forearms on his knees, slouching a bit against the couch. "They died, because of me. They died without knowing how much danger they were in, and they died because someone was trying to kill me."

Peter hangs his head, staring at the floor vacantly, "I've lost so many people I care about, but Simone…" His head shakes from side to side for a moment, "That hurt me more than Isaac's bullet would have. That hurt me, inside, and I've never really recovered from it." Looking back up to Helena, Peter watches the girl for a moment, his expression softening. "When I see you, I see this… cute, vivacious, energetic and opinionated woman." Woman, he says, not girl. "But then, I think about what it would be like to hold you in my arms as you died." Horrible, hard words; spoken from experience. "I can't do that again."

Helena can't help smiling a little at his choice of words, her expression growing gentle as he explains himself. "I don't know if Cat has made decisions that may end her up as easily being dead if I have." she admits, dropping her eyes. "Perhaps she's safer for you." And then she raises them. "You were a hospice nurse." she says suddenly. "And you watched people die all the time. Would you have told their loved ones that it would have been better for them not to have loved the ones that left them?"

The first part of what Helena says seems dismissed by Peter, a troubled look coming over him as he does. But it's what Helena says next that gets his attention, causing him to look up to the blonde with an expression of confusion and surprise. He watches her for a short time, trying to figure out exactly what to say, but words fail him for the second time today as he merely stares down at his feet again, unable to form a proper response to her words. He's silent for a while, just scuttling his bottle back and forth across the floor with motions of his distant fingers. She had a point, and Peter was at a loss from it.

Helena doesn't press the issue. It's pretty obvious he needs time to roll it around in his head. But that doesn't mean she won't provoke him into really thinking about things. "I'm sorry you've had so much loss." she says. "But I'll be sorry for you if you let it dictate your choices in life." With that, she starts to rise.

Peter remains motionless, until Helena speaks again. Then, just after she begins to stand, he does as well. Though he moves to step around her, moving to stand in front of the blonde, one hand coming up to rest on her shoulder. Peter looks at her with a puzzled expression, as though having difficulty understanding what she said. "How…" He carefully chooses his words, "How do you do it?" His eyes narrow, "Make so much sense, when all I get for thinking about this is a headache." His hand moves from her shoulder, and he starts to turn away, one hand moving up to rub at his forehead. In his own way, Peter conceded that Helena was right.

"It's easy to be objective for someone else." Helena confesses. "I just try to be honest about what I see and what I feel. Look, like I said, I'm not going to push myself on you and there's no clock ticking about whatever choice you feel you need to make, whenever you make it. Personally," she can't help but smile, "I think I'm a big heaping helping of awesome that you might be regretting missing out on," her grin then turns into something more gentle, "But if I'm not the awesome you're looking for, I'm not the type who looks to be all crazy rejected psycho about it. Which is to say, you have me as a friend regardless. Short of shoving you up against a wall and macking you like a Renaissance Faire trollop, that's really all I can do without things being all dramatic and ridiculous."

Shaking his head, Peter laughs as he hears what Helena says in response, and as he turns around, he takes a step over to the girl, then slowly moves his arms around her and pulls her into a gentle hug, "Thanks…" He says quietly, moving one hand up to the back of her head for a moment, "You never cease to stop surprising me." He adds, shaking his head again while he holds Helena close, "…Thanks." After letting the embrace linger for a moment, Peter begins to let go, leaning back to look down at Helena with a crooked smile, just watching her. Outside, though, Helena would have felt it coming on, but the sound of pattering rain outside — through the sunlight — indicates the presence of a sunshower drizzling down over the building. Bright rays of sunlight cast through the windows, but the rain creates a gentle sound on the plastic covering on the windows, and on the overgrowth in the empty lot outside. It was Peter's doing, and it painted a perfect picture of how he feels.

Helena closes her eyes briefly, letting the sensations of the weather wash over her with evident pleasure before opening her eyes. "Nice." she breathes, and before he steps away, lifts up on her toes and gives him a kiss. It's a quick thing, and she's gone before he can really respond, but then she did not intend for it to be something that lingered. Their first, and maybe their last, but the fresh bit of breeze that accompanies the rain for a moment is testament enough. "Night, Peter." she says with a smile, and makes her way out of his apartment.

Three times he's been left wordless thanks to Helena today, as of now. Peter's eyes close when he feels the girl's lips press against his, and a smile begins creeping up even as she leans away. There is so much he could say to that, so many different avenues of conversation. As she moves out of his embrace, then around and towards the door, Peter turns to look over his shoulder, leaving it all unsaid as that breeze blows in through the one open window. The way the wind, rain and sun played together was answer enough.


September 7th: A Likely Story

Previously in this storyline…
Permit Yourself Happiness

Next in this storyline…
Arrival and Artwork

September 8th: Arrival and Artwork
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