In Another Lifetime


hana_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title In Another Lifetime
Synopsis Hana crashes Peter's recovery to inflict upon him her own unresolved grief — whether he wants it or not.
Date November 14, 2010

Pollepel Island

The thum of a generator is distant white noise as far away as Peter Petrelli's cot is from it. Beneath the ground level of Fort Bannerman, a sparsely populated medical triage area erected on arrival by the Ferrymen refugees has slowly been filtering out the injured and the infirm. Typically staffed by Megan Young, the early hours of morning sees the nurse finding rest elsewhere on Pollepel while her patients quietly recover and rest.

The triage center looks like something out of the first world war; metal framed cots set side by side, drip stands made out of everything from coat racks to nails pounded between the brick of the walls and into old, crumbling mortar. The chamber itself is old, with the double arch of a vaulted ceiling, stone walls that radiate cold and stink of moisture and smooth concrete floors. It's no surprise that this facility is entirely temporary, also little surprise that the few people remaining are the most seriously injured.

A young girl lays on one cot, her head wrapped in gauze bandages down past her eyes and across the bridge of her nose. She's motionless, arms straight at her sides, lips parted in soft respiration. A stool next to her cot is unoccupied, save for Megan's clip board and an empty paper cup of coffee left atop it.

Two rows of beds down, Peter Petrelli's face is not quite as disguised. His eyes are shut, bandages tracked down the front of his face where gauze and medical tape tries to cover the horrible facial injury he suffered during the riots from his own unfortunately empathetic healing. Most of his other bandaging has been pulled away, scabbed over cuts and pucture wounds allowed to breathe. It's been days since he was injured, and he is only now starting to have the strength to walk around.

Right now, he's more focused on sleeping. Folded on a trunk at the foot of his bed, bloodstained clothing has yet to be washed, and a tattered red scarf falls limply down onto the floor, unrolled from where it had been folded.

Hana has some measure of respect for Young — which is why she hasn't interrupted Peter's recovery prior to today. Why she doesn't storm into the infirmary and wake him up by simple expedient of summarily dumping his cot over. Why, instead, she appropriates the stool from beside the girl's bed, picking it up so the feet don't scrape abominably on concrete. Does plunk it down beside Petrelli's cot with a noisy, albeit brief, clatter… but then fails to sit on it. Instead, the woman's dark eyes are caught by the tatters of red fabric huddled on the floor; she picks it up.

Picks it up, and draws the length of crimson scarf through her fingers, fury simmering only just beneath the surface with Hana's contemplation. Messiah. Rupert Carmichael. Rebel. Peter Petrelli. The scarves were a symbol from day one, and now this one speaks to Hana in the language of different symbols altogether — personal ones. Her hand clenches white-knuckled on the hapless fabric; all consideration of Megan Young, a distant spectre at present, vanishes utterly between one heartbeat and the next.

The stool flies into the wall, propelled by the force of an energetic kick. Dimples the old and crumbling brick, ricocheting back to jangle against the legs of Peter's cot, vibrations jarring up its frame and clatter echoing off the room's vaulted ceiling.

"You damn well better wake up, Petrelli," Hana snarls, free hand closing like a vise over his nearer shoulder. "You owe me a little fucking chat."

The crash of the stool has Peter's dark eyes snapping open right before Hana's hawk-talon grip closes down around his shoulder. Breath hitches in Peter's throat as he feels the pressure of her fingers there, sees blurrily the unrecognizable face but clear as day understand's whose voice it is. The crash of the chair also wakes up the young girl a few rows away, jolting up with a soft and choked-back sound of fear, her bandaged eyes unable to see the world around her, only hear the gruff hiss of voices and creak of cot springs.

Peter has no words for Hana, just a wide-eyed stare up at the technopath as his vision focuses and double-overlaid images of the Israeli collide together to reveal just how upset with him she is. His lips part, Hana isn't so much said as thought with a lump in his throat holding the words down. Voices come from the blinded teenager, whispering softly into the sightless dark of her own world. "H— Hello?" Fear in her voice, panic too, the world is a cruel place and now she can't even see the danger coming her way.

She's not Ferrymen, not one of their wards either, just someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and through coincidence and compassion wound up here.

Sympathy, empathy, is not really one of Hana's more pronounced traits. She does hear the girl; lets silence hang a long moment, dark eyes glittering as they stare unwaveringly down at Peter. "You're fine," the woman finally says, not for her quarry's benefit but the other's. "Go back to sleep." Which isn't, in practical fact, a reassurance at all — but Hana's business isn't with the girl, and single-mindedness shows in that lack of compassion.

"Cat got your tongue, Petrelli?" she asks his open eyes. From another speaker, it would be a mocking phrase; voiced by Hana, it is simply sharp-edged, shaped by the snarl underlying her tone. "Unstick it," she snaps, releasing his shoulder. Her other hand lifts, bringing the tattered scarf up beside her to where it must be in his field of view; a flick of fingers releases the swathe of red fabric to flutter down into Peter's face.

"What did you fucking do to Rebel, Petrelli?" the woman demands. "What the hell did you infect him with?"

Peter's dark eyes flick to the girl, and while empathy isn't Hana's string suit, it used to be Peter's long before now. When the blind young woman reluctantly ducks her shoulders and makes a soft, meek sound before settling back down on her cot, Peter's attention wavers from her and up to Hana. "I— " Cat's still got his tongue.

Swallowing dryly the lump in his throat, Peter tries to find his words again. "I didn't do anything to Rebel," and those words are strained between Peter's clenched teeth. "Rupert— I don't— Rupert had Rebel wrapped around his finger. Rupert turned on all of us," which of course he means Messiah, but seems to have a hard time differentiating Messiah from the unaffiliated. "I don't— I don't know what happened to him, but Rupert convinced him to turn his back on us, that we were going to go to the government. He used him just like he used us!"

Peter's protestations appear to gain him exactly zero ground in Hana's books. At any rate, the glint in her eyes is just as angrily bright when she leans down, folding her wrists against the edge of the cot as if in mimicry of a relaxed, conversational stance — or parody, the imitation serving only to underscore the emotional tension in her frame. "I don't believe you," she murmurs, darkly quiet. She doesn't want to believe him, though to be true Hana understands all too well how strings can be pulled.

One hand comes up, a single fingernail pressing sharply against the edge of Peter's jaw. "Do you want to know what happened to him?" Hana asks, in that same malevolently soft tone. Although it's phrased as a question, the proper interpretation is rather a demand: ask it, do.

Upper lip pulled back into a brief snarl, Peter's attentive stare stays focused on Hana like a bear unwelcomly roused from his hibernation, though lacking any ursine strength with which to carry out that tooth-gnashing threat. Brown eyes flick once down to the finger at the corner of Peter's jaw, ever so much a lion's talon in this situation, then back up to Hana again. "I don't care what you believe, Gitelman, because the last time that was ever grounded in reality was probably before I met you."

Dark brows crease together, furrowing that covered wound across his face painfully. "Rebel turned on us, tell me why I should care what happened to him?" For all his harsh words, Peter is perhaps forgetting just how incapacitated he still is, how little strength there is in him. But what he does still have is anger, and right now both he and Hana seem more than willing to project that anger onto each other vividly.

Thin lips pull back from ivory teeth in an expression that is anything but a smile. "Then don't care, Petrelli," she says, fingers pressing in her anger on either side of the junction between windpipe and jaw, not hard enough to endanger Peter but more than enough to hurt. It doesn't take much pressure, there. "Don't fucking care — but care that I. Do." And that itself is a bit of strangeness, without knowing the full complexity of her relationship with Rebel — and the paucity of other connections in Hana's life.

"Get better," she says, perhaps a surprising blessing — though it isn't by any measure spoken kindly. Hana straightens, letting her hands come to her sides. Both of them. "Get better soon — and then get the hell out." The briefest of pauses, and something that might be a subtle twist of lips. "I'll give you that. For him." Her expression twitches back into a flat mask. "Get away from my people, and don't let me see you again."

Were situations reversed, Peter isn't entirely sure he would have done any different than Hana has right now. One of his bandaged hands comes up, rubbing at his throat where Hana's fingers had been so tightly wound. Choughing, choking, Peter closes his eyes and swallows down bitterly the feeling of helplessness that has haunted him since the day of the riots, and perhaps since four years prior.

"I didn't even want to come here," is hoarsely stared, Peter's throat working up and down as he tries to get the feeling of tightness from his windpipe. "Your people brought me here, I didn't— I didn't want this." Any of this, but that needn't be said.

Closing his eyes, Peter shakily pushes himself up onto one arm, exhaling a ragged breath as his other arm braces across his midsection. "Where is he?" The question is asked to his lap, first, then as dark eyes come up to square on Hana, Peter's brows furrow tensely, unaware of the familial connection. "Where's Rebel? Niki— " he cuts himself off, his stare looking away, "I heard he was dead." He should know, for sure, for her sake if nothing else.

She doesn't care what he wants. Wouldn't most of the time, and definitely not while caught in the headlong grip of her own rage — and grief. Hana pivots on one heel, steps away from the cot, the displaced chair, the injured man she no longer wants anything to do with. A second step, and then a third, separate them while Peter is belatedly dragging himself upright; the fourth proves not forthcoming, halted by the question directed at her back.

A short, sharp, humorless bark of laughter is Hana's answer. "Too fucking late, Petrelli," she says without looking back, not even a glance cast over one shoulder. But the man whose defining trait was once his empathy can hear the unassuaged grief beneath those words, read it in the brittle stiffness of her posture as she doesn't quite resume moving on. Ultimately, what Hana wanted, what she needed, was as much expression of that grief as someone to blame; and in the wild impulsivity of strong emotion, she hesitates.

Hesitates a long moment: long enough. Speaks softly, still without turning back. "The virus drove him insane. I tore him apart," the technopath answers, in a quietly grim voice that he almost has to strain to hear. "Seven hundred and thirty nine pieces. That I could find after Agron sent them bouncing around the ether with his solar flare." Pivots again, whirlwind motion sending dark hair flying. "I took him apart so that damned mission could be completed," Hana says, escalating intensity no longer quiet. "I don't know if I can ever get the virus out to put him back together again."

The light glittering off her eyes is suspiciously suggestive of unshed tears. "And you don't fucking care!" Hana spits out, taking an unconscious, anger-driven step back towards Peter even as her hand jabs in his direction. Because of course, if she's bothered to care, he must.

…But that still doesn't answer why she cares.

Insane. Suddenly it all makes some kind of horrible sense to Petr, a horrible sense that has his throat tightening and shoulders slacking, fire beginning to be burned out of him, replaced with nothing but black coal. Hana's jabbed finger in his direction earns an askance look away from her, to the wall, then slowly back to the technopath.

"It was Rupert…" Peter murmurs, "he— his ability, it… it reprogrammed people's minds, I guess like a sort of— some kind of psychic virus?" His brows crease together with uncertainty. "Carmichael probably triggered him, something. I— I don't know. I know Rebel was borrowing a human body, maybe that's how Carmichael affected him, maybe it just worked anyway. I don't know."

Sliding his tongue over his teeth, Peter shakes his head, slowly, as his eyes avert to his lap. "I'm…" sorry is the wrong thing to say, and probably the last thing Hana wants to hear. Instead, there's just silence, awkward and uncertain silence.

Hana isn't listening anyway.

Oh, she hears Peter's words; sees the parade of expressions pass across his face, the awkwardly uncomfortable shifts of posture. But there's a world of difference between hearing and listening. Rupert is already on the blackest of Hana's blacklists, the I-would-resurrect-you-a-thousand-times-just-to-kill-you-a-thousand-and-one list; Peter can't say anything that would deepen that, and he isn't really saying anything else. Not that she'd appreciate if he tried.

Sorry is the wrong word, and mercy is one Hana only employs in certain contexts. This isn't one of them.

"Before he was Rebel," Hana says, words no longer echoing from the ceiling but shared only between her and Peter as she lets her hand fall, "before he was T.Monk — his name was Richard Drucker. Remember it, Petrelli." She doesn't care about the man who became Behemoth, cares about Micah Sanders only a few shades more; just one facet of Rebel carried personal significance to her.

"He had a sister once," the technopath continues relentlessly, eyes now entirely dry in an expressionless face. "In another lifetime. Her name was Zahava Gitelman."

Hana lets that statement stand just long enough to be absorbed, jaw clenched behind taut lips, then pivots and strides away across the concrete.

Footsteps move arrhythmically to Peter's heartbeat, two different stacatto beats. The cat's got his tongue again after Hana shows that side of herself, reveals that truth to him. There's empathy, even if burned out, cold and blunted from what it once was. Peter's throat tightens, his jaw unsteadies, eyes avert down to his lap and one hand lifts up to the bandage-covered wound now turning into a scar on his forehead.

Fingers curl, close into a fist, and with one lash of his arm Peter strikes the brick wall at his side with a soft thump, then slowly opens his shaking hand and hunches forward, cradling his head in both hands as he sits cross-legged on his cot. There's no way to undo that damage, no way to make that a happy ending. There's also no words to spare and no comfort to give.

It just is, and unfortunately that is a fact neither Peter or Hana can ever change.

No matter how much they might like to.

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