If You Had Been There


helena_icon.gif peter2_icon.gif

Scene Title If You Had Been There
Synopsis Helena updates Peter about what's gone on with PARIAH.
Date October 30, 2008

Deveaux Building — Rooftop

Instead of a note, Helena's left herself. She doesn't really feel the cold, able to control the ambient temperature around her, but is sitting not on the ironwork chair, but rather the table itself, feet on the chair seat. She's hunched over, elbows on thighs, chin on the backs of her hands, looking a bit like the famous Thinker statue. Her expression is indrawn and thoughtful, a stray breeze lifts her loose hair back and away from her face. She's hoping Peter will make an appearance, but if he doesn't - that's alright, too. The solitude is a comfort.

The pidgeons give a bit of a startle at something, and it's the sound of footsteps that don't come from anywhere near the entrance ot the roof. "Helena…" Peter's voice sounds drained, emotionally and physically as he starts approaching the table. His tie is caught in the breeze that blows across the rooftop. "I… I didn't expect…" Something has hit him, hard, and he looks worse for wear because of it. It's uncertain if he had come up here for the solutide, or a message to deliver. Either way, it isn't what he found.

Helena looks at him, tilting her chin upward to gaze at him with bleak sympathy. "Your brother." she says. "I know. I'm sorry." She clambers down from the table, walks up to him. Puts her arms around him, if he'll let her. "I wasn't sure if you'd come here - I sort of didn't expect you. I'm so sorry." she repeats.

Peter breathes out a heavy breath, letting his arms come around Helena, squeezing her tightly as he lays his cheek atop her head. "He's alright." His voice is a whisper, breathed out into her hair. "I went to the hospital, just to see for myself. He was laughing, joking with the doctors… He really pulled out the hero card." There's a mild laugh, but it's a tired one. It seems like Peter has stopped sleeping again. "You…" He seems drained, like a person pulled in far too many directions at once, in a way that's finally beginning to take it's toll, just the way he looked before the raid on Primatech Paper. "You don't look so good yourself." Peter leans back a little, brushing his palm across Helena's cheek. "You alright?"
That question is so loaded that she can't even begin to answer it. "There's something I need to tell you." she says softly. "Some of it's good, some of its bad. Actually…a lot of it's bad. And I need you to be very careful about who you repeat it to, because if Bennet gets wind of my telling you, any trust I've gained will go out the window." Her hand lifts to curl fingers against his against her cheek. "To start off with - Bennet and Wireless asked me to bring PARIAH under the wing of the Ferrymen. We'd have full access to their resources, while continuing to be proactive. The bad news is why, and what has happened in result."

"Bennet?" There's a name Peter hasn't had to think about in a long while, though even the mere mention of Wireless' name causes him to tense some, as if she was standing behind him with a disapproving glare towards the man he'd become. "Helena, I — You're not going to take the offer, are you?" His head tilts to the side slightly, "After all you've worked for, after what happened to Cameron…" He hesitates, and perhaps therein lies the root of where his words were going. "This… this isn't about Cameron, is it? It isn't because…" He's getting entirely the wrong impression. "Helena, you're strong. You can lead everyone, you… you don't need to give up." He's followed the words down the wrong path, assuming something far different — but perhaps far less dangerous — than the truth.

Helena blinks. "Oh, no, no. We're still autonomous, I promise. It's just that instead of being on our own, we'll have the committed support of the Ferrymen, access to all their resources - have our own leadership. Though in a way yes, this is about Cameron." Her hand trails from his, but both go to curve around his arms as she looks at him intently. "I brought the proposition up to the group, along with the reccomendation that we accept. Most are with me. But some…about a third…they've never been happy with our decision to step away from terrorism to begin with, and they - they made it clear last night. About a third of them walked away. They're going to continue as PARIAH, and go back to the old methods. Those of us left will be something new. Because the main reason I agreed to join forces is because Bennet gave me some intel that changes everything. She swallows. "The government is closer, a lot closer than you think, to fine-tuning a test to check for Evolved abilities from just a few drops of blood. And that not only means easier ways to persecute us, but it means - think about it - they've already started using people as their guinea pigs. Test subjects. It's started, Peter. Maybe not on the level of internment camps yet, but it's started."

Much of the composure drains out of Peter's face as his shoulders slouch, head lowering as he hears all of this laid on him, like a great weight has been lifted up and dropped on his shoulders. His features harden, brow tensing enough to crease the scar across his face, making him turn away to look down at the dusty and cracked rooftop. "They…" Peter closes his eyes, nodding slowly as his teeth press down on his lower lip. He's silent for a long time, and when he finally looks back, there's is a remarkablt conflicted look in his eyes, as if his conscience is pulling him in two wholly divergent directions.

"The thing, the sickness," He doesn't directly answer any of Helena's concerns, instead he seems to be trying to ignore them for whatever reason. "The one that's killing people, it's happening in more places. Something terrible is going to happen soon, Helena, I can feel it. I…" Shaking his head, Peter's lips press together to form a thin line, "I can't figure it all out right now, Helena, but there's a lot of things all going on at once, and I have a bad feeling — That they're all related somehow." His eyes drift, looking out to the crater of Midtown. "…I don't know what else to say." And that, itself, comes with a weary realization of his own limitations.

"There's more." Helena says. She takes a deep breath. "When Karl walked out, and took about a third of us - Claire and West went with them." Her eyes turn liquid in the moonlight for a moment before they restore to calm, the only momentary evidence of how deeply she was hurt by Claire's choice. "Between the sickness and the testing and everything…we're being targeted."

That there is enough to strain Peter to the breaking point, the knowledge that Claire has turned back towards her old ways. He falters, almost falling to one knee right there in Helena's arms, but instead he catches himself, closing his eyes and straining a breath. "How could — " He brings one hand up to his eyes, breathing in a deep breath that is held for a few moments, pushed out between his fingers as his hand slides down his face. "How could she be so stupid?"

"I tried to stop her." Helena says in a whisper. "I'm sorry." She presses close, turns her head so her cheek is against his chest. She has to, so she can't look at him, so she can't say it: If you'd been there, you could have stopped her! It isn't a fair thought, and she knows it, and she feels guilty for it.

He hears it though, even if he doesn't want to. Peter moves his hands up to rest on Helena's shoulders, then takes a step back to look down at her. "I'll…" He isn't sure of what to say at all, "I'll go change her mind." It's said in a way that implies he won't be listening to her at all when he does. "I'll make her understand, even if I have to force her to." There's an edge to his words, a familiar edge, and his brow twitches slightly from the tone used. Choking out a sigh, Peter finally lets Helena go, stepping away from the young woman as a hand comes up to rest on his forehead.

"No." Helena reaches out, takes hold of the wrist reaching for his forehead. "That's exactly what you can't do. If you try to force her, you'll bring that whole faction to bear on you. Talk to her if you can, try to convince her, but don't force her." She's disturbed, and she recognizes where and who that came from. "I need you to understand, though - whatever actions PARIAH begins to take - the people you know - me and Alex and Cat and the rest, we're not part of that group anymore. We're something new, and you'll know when you see it." She wants to ask him again what his plans are, if he'll return to the fold after Elle Bishop's been found, but is afraid of his answer. "You may want to see if your Company had a hand in collect people for the government research." she says softly. "They've worked with them before."

Peter scowls when his wrist is grabbed, yanking it away as he exhales a snorted breath, "They can try." There's an orange glow for a moment in his irises, "Claire's being an idiot if she's gone off with them, and I have every intention of making it her idea to come back. I don't even have to lift a finger to do it." He scowls, looking out to the ruined cityscape, then back to Helena. "The Company?" He furrows his brow, seeming to fluctuate between calm and incensed, "No, I — Maybe? I don't know… nor do I think I can find out without risking exposing myself. I'm not that important to them, yet."

Helena cocks her head at him. "You're fluctuating." she says. "And I can't believe you'd coerce Claire like that. If you ever did that to me…" she trails off. Her head bows, and she looks despondent, stepping away. The status is not quo. Life isn't bliss, life is just this, it's living. "You'd better get back."

Peter stares at Helena for a moment, watching her with at first a puzzled, and then a worried expression. "You'd never know if I did." He takes a step back, dark circles beneath his eyes and a tension to his posture, as if inordinately stiff and rigid, "I'll have something for you in a week or so. Check here." Then, with a rush of air, Peter vanishes from sight, leaving a tiny swirl of dust where he once was on the rooftop…

October 30th: A Dead Horse
October 30th: Home
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