Just Ask Alice


helena_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Ask Alice
Synopsis Sylar tracks down Helena after her efforts to get into contact. It's not quite a tea party - not even a mad one.
Date November 26th, 2008

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

It goes without saying that the Alice In Wonderland statuary is Helena's favorite in the whole of the park. Children love to climb on it, though this late in the afternoon slash early evening, there's no children about. But Hel's taken up the perch, and her attention is occupied by the pigeons she's feeding. A brown paper bag houses the remnants of stale bread she tosses their way, and from her perch on a mushroom, she looks like Alice dispensing loaves to the feathered masses. How is a raven like a writing desk, anyway?

The sound of rustling feathers and bird-like coos from the mass of grey feathered creatures might muffle the sound of footsteps, but not for long. Like a blanket suddenly lifted from a bed, the pigeons all take off at once in a flurry of flapping. It's an unnatural movement, nothing in the immediate area having scared them, all of them simply taking flight in unison, flocking up towards the trees and sky and only then do they scatter, as if confused as to what to do next. That's when foot steps against gravel becomes audible, as Sylar moves around the statues as casual as you please, dressed in a black winter woolen coat that goes past his knees. His hands are uncovered, and bruises and cuts along his knuckles indicate a fight, just barely visible past his sleeves. A smallish cut at the corner of his mouth, one at his brow, but otherwise fine, and he mouths quirks in the barest of frosty smiles. "Hello, Helena."

And suddenly, Alice is joined by the Mad Hatter. Helena visibly starts, almost falling off her mushroom, and a hand goes to her chest. Her eyes flick to and fro - there are people in the park, but nobody right here, right now. "Sylar," she says thickly. Her nostrils strain a bit, giving her fright an almost rabbitish air. Fighting the urge to scoot back on her mushroom, she does her best to sound conversational. "You've been quiet lately."

Almost dog-like, his head tilts just a fraction, Listening as he's wont to do to her reactions, the ones beneath the surface. It's not so much out of pleasure as it is out of the want to guage out the situation. Sylar smiles at her disarmingly, the kind that shows teeth and doesn't reach his eyes at all, like a mask. "I've been busy lately," he corrects, moving to stand just in front of her rather than join her on the mushroom. "Bigger and better people to pick on, although I did give Alexander a visit."

"Should I be flattered or insulted that it took you this long to get to me?" Helena asks, still watching him sidelong. Her hands rest flat on the curve of the metal mushroom, knuckles white. He scares her, no doubt about that. "What have you been busy doing?" She's almost afraid to ask, but information is power, if she can urge him into gloating.

"Saving the world," Sylar says, hands slipping into the pockets of his coat. "Saving it from itself." He opens his mouth as if to say more, and dark eyes almost twinkle in the fading light of a late afternoon, and an unstoppable smirk tugs at the corner of his mouth as he changes his mind, and says, "I guess that means we have common goals now. Don't be insulted, I just haven't been walking by the tenement as often anymore. I thought we'd dropped out of touch, you and I."

"Things changed with Peter." she says quietly. Then, "How are you saving the world?" Mental check: Sylar's eyebrows are way, way scarier than Ben's. Absurdity keeps her heart from racing too badly.

"A lot of things changed with Peter," Sylar says, smirk turning into more of a sneer. Said eyebrows twitch up at her question. "Wouldn't you like to know. You go first: how are you saving the world, Helena Dean?"

Helena blanches at that sneer, but not out of fear. The hurt there wielded is only happenstance. Recovering, she says, "Slow and steady wins the race. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time." Let Sylar think her ineffectual, let PARIAH think Phoenix is weak. She knows better.

He steps a little closer, body not inches away from where her knees bend over the side of the mushroom statue, stance casual but he doesn't have to be tense to be on guard. "Well I plan to do it in one go," Sylar says, quietly. "One final flood, and everything will change for the better. You'll see. Is this all you wanted me for? To catch up on old times? I'm not going to tell you my path only so you can stand in my way."

"I'd have to matter to actually stand in your way." she points out. Then, "It didn't work, you know."

Around them, the pigeons have returned, not to carry on in a feeding frenzy but instead they rest in a wide, haphazard circle around the two, wandering just a little, their behaviour unaltered, but silent, almost sedate. Sylar cants his head to the side again, blinks almost tolerantly, and asks, "What didn't work."

"The Flood." Helena replies. "The point was to wipe everything away, make it clean, start over. Except people just went on doing the same old things. Don't get me wrong, I understand cycles. But sometimes the answer isn't destruction. It's adaptation."

"You're right, of course," Sylar says. "But this time the world will be under…" His eyes roll up as if carefully choosing his words, then back to Helena with a lifted eyebrow, "…new management." That little piece of blasphemy delivered, Sylar almost chuckles. "It's a storm that's coming, Helena - not even you can stop it. Like you said, you don't matter."

It is rare that Sylar will ever see a genuine smile on Helena's face. Fear is what he knows best from her, and so this smile may be unexpected. But it doesn't come from a happy place. Still it is a smile. "Far be it for me to stop a storm from coming." she says. Flinging weather metaphors at an atmokinetic? Alanis would croon about the irony, no doubt. "Management, huh? Never knew you to be the taking-orders-sort. Good luck with that."

"And what makes you so sure I'm not the management I'm talking about?" Sylar says, but a sneer accompanies it, feathers ruffled if only for a moment. He seems to catch himself. "You should probably be more worried about your boyfriend than me. At least I know what I'm doing, but Peter, well… he's all over the place."

"Because I've never known you to speak in third person like a drag queen." Helena replies matter of factly, her hands going into her lap. Her expression shuts down. "Leave Peter alone."

"No," Sylar says, easily. "And even if I wanted to, I don't have a choice. He's attacking anyone he thinks I value just to get to me. Would you like to tell me where I can find him," and his hand lifts, an invisible extension of that hand wrapping around Helena's throat, squeezing just enough to make her sit up but not to hinder her breathing, "or would you like to be one of the messages I send his way."

Helena's eyes widen momentarily as she feels that invisble hand at her throat, forcing her to sit up. "I don't know where he is." she says. "That's the truth." Oh, god. He can't cut off her head right here, can he? Almost automatically, there's a sudden and distant roll of thunder, cloud fronts responding to her fright.

Sylar's eyes roll up to regard the sky, then back towards her. There's something different in his eyes, now, less the calm and collected threat of coldness and apathy, something warmer but no more reassuring. Passion, and not of a human kind. A hungry kind. But somehow, this makes him stop, makes him rein it in, although the grip remains. "I'm going to kill him," he says. "Sentence first, verdict afterwards." Just to keep with the Alice in Wonderland theme. "What do you know? When did you see him last?"

"Weeks." she manages, trying to pull back out of the grip. "It's been weeks." Since she's seen the Peter she believes he's looking for. "He's been - he's been hurting people?" The question seems more resigned then surprised. It's not that she's lost her faith. It's just being sorely tested. It's hard to think. There are things she could do to try and get away, but it might make it worse.

"Yes," Sylar readily confirms. "And the only reason two of them aren't dead is because they're capable of defending themselves, and he is as ever weaker than he wants anyone to believe." A reprieve, then, as Helena's throat is released - but almost instantly, she's flying through the air with a mere twitch of two fingers, letting her land hard on the ground. The pigeons that were there get out of the way, only to land again a few feet from her, and Sylar follows.

Helena hits the ground hard, her hand having been curled under her to break her fall. The yelp of pain is bitten off, Her free hand is used to push off the ground and give her the added push of momentum to pick up to her feet and start to run, praying that she can get beyond the limit of his reach. Up above, the sky grows overcast, and there's an edge to the wind. More rumbling.

Though he can't control the sky above, he can control the immediate things in his vicinity. And that's what it's all about. Sylar relaxes, focuses, and Helena will come to a startling and abrupt halt, enough that she might even collapse had her body been under her control. Raising a hand, Sylar makes a gesture, forcing her to turn. Then, almost a come hither gesture, forcing her to do exactly the opposite of what she wanted - walk towards him. It's not telekinesis, but something more insidious. "We weren't done here," he says, in a low, dangerous tone.

The wrist she's clutching to her chest - persumably still, since he's controlling her legs - is swollen badly. Something's either sprained or broken from the fall. Probably the former, since if it were the latter, she'd not be able to keep from screaming. Her eyes, gone red with unshed tears of pain, dart this way and that frantically - but if she raises her voice, he'll be sure to shut it. The sky above grows darker, though. Sylar was right. A storm is coming. "He doesn't - I can't help you. He doesn't listen to me anymore." Helena is frightened and frantic, but she's also telling the truth. Of one half of it, anyway.

He meets her halfway, walking in slow steps. "Is that so," Sylar says, almost sarcastic, but it doesn't seem as though he doesn't believe her, his steady gaze on her more frantic eyes, though it flickers down towards her wrist. Maybe in interest. "Then I guess there's only one thing you're good for. You know how the moral goes. The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours." But he doesn't kill her, watching her instead, her legs trapped as they are.

The weather is responding to her fear, something in this moment she's unable to help. Everything she's got in her arsenal is something that would present itself obviously, or need time to build up. She's trapped, not sure what he wants since he doesn't just kill her, but it gives her time to consider the one thing she can do that he might not expect.


She's prepared for the clap of thunder that seems to go off practically right next to them. The force of it causes a nearby park lamp to crack, and it sends the birds scattering in multiple directions. It'll set her ears ringing, but Sylar isn't expecting it, and pain of the noise and the element of surprise might be enough so that she can get away.

As the birds take flight, broken from the spell he has them under, a similar disruption shivers down the control he has of Helena, her legs instantly freed as Sylar flinches, head ducking and a startled yell tearing unashamedly out of his throat. That's what he gets for listening so intently to her heart beat as he put the fear of death into the woman, hands coming up to clap over his ringing ears.

Adrenaline is a beautiful thing. Terror pumps adrenaline into her system, as does the pain in her wrist and the ringing in her ears. Helena uses that adrenaline, uses it to pump her legs and ignore the pain and run as fast as she can humanly run, darting her path, trying to make it around the Tavern On The Green and get lost amongst people as quick as she can. As far as she can, as fast as she can, heart beating like the flapping wings of the birds under Sylar's control.

The only thing chasing her is a sudden onslaught of pigeons, responding to an unconscious want to follow from their temporary master, but they're, in the end, pigeons. They do no damage and merely scatter when things of distraction turn their numerous gazes. Should Helena dare, like so many heroines, to look over her shoulder at the monster behind her, she'll find no one following her despite the feeling that there is, but maybe a distance away, a darkly dressed man turning a different corner of trees and walls.

November 25th: Why

Previously in this storyline…
He's A Liar

Next in this storyline…
Return to Sender

November 26th: The Nature of Fear
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