Make or Break


helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Make or Break
Synopsis Having strained their relationship with his plans for Molly, Peter finally caves in and confesses to Helena his darkest secret.
Date September 18th, 2008

Condemned Tenement: Rooftop

While some parts of the roof are less structurally sound then others, someone seems to have sorted out which areas are dangerous and blocked them off. Some overhangs have been jury-rigged up to block a direct aerial view that gives definite indication of the presence of squatters - a rooftop garden, clearly meant to provide sustenance rather than aesthetic. Tubs full of dirt are situated to take best advantage of the light despite the overhangs meant to keep them from prying eyes. Tomatoes, beans, carrots, even potatoes and onions and chili peppers are carefully tended, little laminated labels indicating what each row of planting is. There's a seperate section for a small variety of herbs, and a sole small window sill style planter that houses the one concession to beauty; a row of sunflowers, and even these can be harvested for their seeds. Here and there decrepit lawn furniture has been scattered to give the illusion of abandonment; a stone bench here, an ironwork table with chairs there, one of those latticed metal fold-up chairs leaned at an awkward angle in a corner. Aside from the overhangs, the rest of the roof is open to the sky, providing a view of the city and the span of rooftops surrounding the tenement.

She feels the force of the weather tugging at her, blood deep and into the very marrow of her bones. Though it was localized, she could still sense the patterns of wrongness that collected north of her, knew them to be unnatural. Had a very good idea as to why it was occurring and more to the point, who was causing it.

Helena had come up to the roof to do something about it. She has better control than Peter, and the atmospheric effects he'd been causing were playing havoc not just with the weather systems, but in some ways, in Helena herself. She wasn't sure if it was a purely emotional miasma of turmoil or if his ability copying hers was thusly feeding back on itself. In the end it didn't really matter. Standing on her bare feet, arms outstretched, face turned up to the sky with eyes closed, it took time and effort to calm things down. Could he sense what she was doing? She didn't know. There was too much rolling around in her brain a mix of emotions that she had to bring to bear lest her emotional cocktail cause more atmospheric havoc.

Slow and weary footsteps come a half an hour after Helena began to tame the tempest hovering over the ruins of Midtown Manhattan. The storm felt to have lost coherence during that time, and whatever reasons Peter had for struggling to keep it going seem to fade, bending against Helena's will of the weather. Those slow, tired footsteps announce Peter's arrival before anything else does. The distant sound of his winding ascent up the creaking and worn stairs, finally giving way to the opening of the roof entrance. No greeting is spoken, nor do the footsteps move further than the doorway, the creak of leather accompanying a tired sigh.

Helena looks over her shoulder at him. For a moment not a word is a said, not at least until she turns and trudges to one of the garden chairs. Absently she notices that her feet are cold, only she can't spend enough effort to care. "I'm going to convince Cam to let me lead a team to get Molly Walker." she says tiredly. "She won't be killed, and she won't be locked away. She'll have a choice. Because while her powers make her dangerous, so do yours. So do mine. I could kill thousands of people just by deciding that I want to make it flood or snow or bring down hail on the entire city." She lifts those deepset eyes of hers to him. "Would you kill me for that, Peter?"

Peter doesn't say anything, and Helena can see him now silhouetted by the dingy orange light in the stairwell, leaning against the frame of the door. He lingers there for a time, then slowly rights himself and begins walking with heavy footfalls across the uneven roof. The buckles on his boots make a soft noise, mixing with the sound of the zipper on his jacket and the jingle of loose change in one pocket. He slows his pace, halting by a planter with tomatos growing inside, eyes distantly staring through them. He's rainsoaked, evident by the water still dripping off of his jacket, soaking thorugh his shirt and pants, short hair matted down from the rain.

"If you were our enemy," Peter begins to say, his eyes staring down towards the plants, but not seeing them, "No." The answer doesn't match how he started the sentence, eyes falling shut as he says that. "In the end I probably couldn't bring myself to kill Molly either…" His eyes slowly open again, one hand reaching out, kncukles brushing over the leaves of the tomato vine, "Even if doing so would be the best answer. Even if doing it would save lives — No." He shakes his head slowly, hand lowering to rest on the edge of the planter. "Because I'm not strong enough to do what's right."

"You're such an idiot." There's that funny thing again, where words are harsh but tone is not. If anything, it's oddly soft. "The reason you wouldn't kill her is because you are strong enough to do what's right." She rises, standing with her hand on the chair, her heart hammering in her chest. "But you need to tell Alex the plan is changing and why. You were about to send him to kill a twelve year old girl. You owe him the truth."

"Sometimes the truth isn't something people want to hear," Peter's eyes remain diverted from Helena as she rises up from the chair, and his fingers curl against the edge of the bin, "Sometimes, it's better to be blissful in ignorance than suffer in enlightenment." A smile creeps across his lips, he's starting to sound like Cat. Finally, Peter looks up to Helena, his eyes sunken in dark circles. "I'll tell him the plan's changed, but he doesn't need to know why. He doesn't need to have that on his conscience, that I think he's capable of killing a little girl." Peter slowly looks back down to the rooftop. "Does he?"

"When he sees her he'll know." Helena counters. "Do you want him to figure it out and jump to the conclusion that you didn't have the balls to admit your intentions?" She circles around him adding, "We're not people who can afford ignorant bliss." Stopping in front of him she adds, "Are you going to disappear and then come back looking like crap every time you have an existential crisis?"

Peter looks away as Helena makes her point, "He can think what he wants." It's clear Peter simply doesn't want to deal with it, head shaking slowly. When she notes his condition, though, his eyes drift back up to her. "That's got nothing to do with this. I had something to do earlier, I just — " He strains out a sigh, raking his fingers thorugh his short hair. "It's not because of this," He motions around himself, then grows quiet again, hands slowly sliding into the pockets of his coat.

"You don't have the luxury of escaping the consequences of your mistakes." Helena says. "Tell him. If you don't, I will." Then quieter, "It always seems to." She starts to move forward, as if to brush past him. She wants to be there for him, but she's not going to twist his arm.

Looking over his shoulder, Peter watches as Helena starts to walk past. His brow tenses, "Someone you can find happiness with, I hope." Words said to him by Cat come bubbling back to the surface, and he closes his eyes tightly, fingers curling closed on his palms into tight fists within his pockets. "Wait." Peter's voice is almost a whisper, head down, jaw tensed enough to see definition in the muscles of his neck. Saying that single word seems to have taken a monumental effort on his behalf.

Helena pauses to turn and gaze at him, her smile a bit sad. "I used to watch girls in my school - the women who my mother would spend her time with. And they'd all try to…to change the men in their lives. Make them into something that they wanted them to be. I just want you to be yourself, you know? Sometimes I think you forget. I don't want you to be anyone but yourself."

Watching Helena as she speaks, there's a sadness in Peter's expression too. Something mournful and troubled, perhaps more so than ever as he hears her explanation. One hand comes up, reaching out to rest on her arm, the touch light and hesitant, as if afraid even the slightest contact would make her crumble like a dried flower. "I don't know who that is, anymore." Peter's brow tenses as he says that, his hand slowly beginning to move away from Helena's arm.

Helena bring up her opposite one to keep his hand there. "I do." she says with conviction. "But thing is, I can lead a Petrelli to water, but I can't make him drink. Not even if I beat him on the head. If you need someone to remind you of who you are - that you're strong, that you're compassionate, that you know to do the right thing, and not the convenient thing? I will. But I won't be a crutch."

There's a flash of shame across Peter's face, the touch of Helena's hand causing him to look down and away from her. "Lena… there's…" He bites down on his lower lip, free hand tightening into a fist in his jacket pocket, then relaxing again, one of his many nervous gestures. "There's something I need to tell you." It's said with a certain weight, heavy and serious. "I…" His hand on her arm very subtle tightens its grip, then relaxes again. "I can't keep this from you… I can't keep lying to you, and…" She can feel the weather beginning to shift, likely a subconscious reaction of whatever emotions are rolling within Peter. "I need to be straight with you about something," His eyes lift up to look into hers, "But you have to want to know." She can feel his hand trembling, "Because… Because it's something that…" He just shakes his head, changing his sentence. "It… It's serious."

"Okay." she says softly, sensing the change. She takes her hand off of his, lets him move it where he wants, and giving him her complete attention. Almost complete - her ability reaches out and suppresses the weather front his mimicry is creating. But he has her full attention.

"What Nathan…" Peter begins to say, then cuts himself off, shaking his head. "Can… Can we go somewhere more private?" He hasn't moved his gaze from her, his hand still resting on her arm, trembling slightly. "This is… this is only for you to hear. I… at least for now." Peter's jaw tenses again, and he looks away for a moment, lost in his thoughts.

Carefully, she steps closer to him, turning her head to press her cheek to his chest. "Take me wherever you want to go."

Peter's smile is bittersweet, unseen to Helena as one arm moves in to wrap around her. "I wish it were that easy." He says in a quiet tone of voice, "I wish it were that easy." His hand moves up, resting against the back of her head, fingers lightly curling into her hair. His brow lowers, holding Helena close to him as the world around them turns itself on its ear. Light bends to the point of blurring, a sudden sensation of the everything dropping out from beneath them, and they alone for but the briefest moment are the only thing left in the world…

Lower East Side: Apartment 1407

Some time ago this spacious apartment may have been a comfortable and warm place to live. The architecture is reminiscent of old-world New York, with many hallways and corridors leading to wide open living spaces and dining rooms. But in whatever times has passed since someone lived here, it has not been kind. Plastic and sheets cover much of the contents of the apartment, pulled over armoires and cabinets, couches and chairs and tables. Boxes half-filled with personal belongings are stacked up in cleared out areas of what might have at one time been a living room. Windows with blinds partly drawn view the streets of what is clearly the Lower East Side.

The shift in the world is only a moment, and that brief sensation of being singular entities in an expanse of nothing else fades way to the dim light of an apartment building. There's a chill in the air, and a stuffy dryness with it, the feeling of a place abandoned and no longer lived in. Personal effects are covered with plastic and sheets, everything here seems to have a cold and distant feeling to it, yet at the same time there's something unsaid that is familiar, resonant. Peter looks up and around, knowing all too well where he is, and gently relaxes his grip on Helena, looking down at her with a concerned expression.

Almost automatically, Helena lets her ability warm things up a little as she looks around. "What is this place?" she asks curiously. She'd have been unsurprised if they'd ended up on the roof of the Deveaux building, but this is new.

Peter frowns at the question, one hand moving down from Helena's hair, brushing over her shoulder. He doesn't explain — not right away — as he begins to walk away from the young woman. His eyes scan the mostly empty living room they had appeared in, "A memory." His explanation is terse, but choked with emotion. Each footfall thumps on the hardwood floor as he makes his way over to the stack of cardboard boxes, reaching inside to remove a picture frame. His eyes focus on it for a time, then he turns to look back at Helena. "This was my apartment, before the bomb. Before…" Shaking his head slowly, Peter tenses his brow and closes his eyes. "Before everything."

"Your apartment…" she half-echoes. She begins running her hands along furniture, walking around, peering at things. But only for a few moments, because when she reaches a drape covered loveseat, she curls into it and looks up at him. "What did you want to tell me?"

Peter tightens his grip on the picture as he hears Helena, eventually putting it back down in the box where it had been recovered. "Before I tell you, I want to ask you something…" He seems troubled, turning to look at the young woman over one shoulder, "If you had a secret," He swallows, nervously, "A secret dark enough that if you told me, you thought it would drive me away… But it was one so huge, so important that you weren't sure how I'd react if you found out from someone else…" He looks back to the box, voice low and hushed, "Would you still tell me?"

Helena is silent for a long time. Surely he's grown used to her silences by now, the time she takes to think of an answer. "I don't know." she admits. "I think that I might want to keep it a secret very, very badly. But I also think doing so might eat me up something terrible. So I think that I'd come to a point eventually where I would tell you, and hope I can trust you to listen and deal with it and try to understand."

"This… is a sort've make of break thing." Peter says quietly, wringing his hands on the edge of the cardboard box, flexing it back and forth. "I…" He laughs, awkwardly, looking back to the scattered contents of his life so haphazardly arranged in packaging to be stored in God knows where. "I don't want to lose you, but I keep feeling like the things I do, they…" A self-deprecating smile crosses his lips, "I'm adept at driving people I care about away from me."

Helena continues to regard him from the loveseat, serene and poised like some kind of oracle perched upon her tripod. "Just tell me, Peter." she says gently. "I promise to sit and think about it, however awful it is, before I say anything."

His head hangs, hands moving to either side of the box, bracing himself against the more fully packed ones stacked below. For a time, Peter stares out the half-blinded window, out to the dim blue haze of the evening light, watching in silence until his thoughts are shaken by the street-lamps outside flicking on, shedding a slatted yellow glow into the room through the venetial blinds. "Nathan lied in his speech," His words start out as a hoarse, strained murmur, "His speech, about what happened — He lied." Peter's shoulders tense, and Helena can once again feel the weather shifting to something more turbulent, but there is a remarkable familiarity to both the speed at which the weather seems to be worsening, and to the emotions churning within. It feels just like that night the windstorm beat down on the city, the night Peter went missing.

"Politicians do that." she says softly. "But I'm guessing it's kind of worse than that." Then, "Come over here." She holds out a hand to him, expectant.

There's a faint, snorted laugh at Helena's first comment, then, looking over his shoulder Peter regards the young woman with a serious expression. Now, in the light coming through the windows, she can see Peter's eyes are reddened around the edges, glassy. He looks like he was crying, that same mournful look on his face the night he nearly lost control of his powers in Helena's presence. After hesitating, Peter starts to walk across the floor, boots thumping with each step until he finds her side, crouching down in front of the loveseat, one hand taking hers. As he looks at her, there is an expression of unmistakeable guilt in his eyes. "It was me." He whispers, trying to speak louder but simply unable to. Then, after a moment, "I was the bomb."

Helena puts her hands to his face, so her thumbs rest along the soft skin under his eyes. "You were…the bomb?" she repeats softly. "Your brother said - " His brother lied. Her fingers slide away from his face, and she leans back in the love seat. Her expression does not grow hard, merely thoughtful. "How?" she asks. "What made you the bomb, and not Sylar?"

Helena's reaction, mirroring Cat's, causes Peter some modicum of relief. She didn't recoil in horror, she didn't lash out at him, she was either just as in shock as Cat was, or she has more faith in him that he imagines. "Sylar," Peter almost chokes on the name, "He killed a man — Ted Sprague — and stole his power. Ted was, he… he could control radiation." He shakes his head, one hand shakily settling on one of Helena's knees, needing just that extra bit of reassurance. His other hand squeezes hers gently. "I'd already been around Ted, and… and it was hard to control. I… during the fight with Sylar…" The weather doesn't worsen beyond windy and cloudy, Helena's calm composure seems to be keeping Peter in check, grounding him. "I lost control, I lost control of it and… and there was nothing I could do."

"How did you survive?" she asks, but then answers her own question. "Claire." She shakes her head. "And she still thinks she's useless." Looking back to Peter she asks quietly, "This is why you were where you were. Underground, on your own." Like a penance. She puts her hand on his cheek. "You may have to spend your whole life paying for it." she says solemnly. "But that doesn't mean you have to suffer." Maybe she doesn't quite believe it. Or maybe she thinks it isn't so simple as boiling down to Peter being the bomb. Perhaps she knows she cannot possibly inflict more guilt on Peter than his has already inflicted on himself.

Nodding slowly, Peter closes his eyes at the touch to his cheek. His hand holding Helena's squeezes again, a little tighter than before. "I spent some time in Alaska… after I woke up. I… I just wanted to wither away and die there, but I couldn't even do that." Old bitterness rises up in his tone of voice, then fades. "It was Hiro who found me, knocked me back to my senses." Eyes finally opening again, Peter looks up to Helena with that same mournful look. "I spent two years learning how to control myself, to… I don't know," His gaze diverts, insecurely, "Make a difference, somehow…" Dithering, Peter cracks an awkward, hurt smile. "You needed to know, I… I couldn't let this keep… keep eating at me. Cat knows," He bravely offers that up, "I told her, I… I'm not sure why, I think back then I just needed to confess to someone. With you, it's different…" He's still trembling, for all his facade of strength.

"I really want to meet this Hiro guy." she murmurs, and focuses on Peter again. "It's different because you thought I'd kick you to the curb." This could have gone so many ways. He told Cat before her. He could go to Cat, talk to her, and he couldn't with Helena. But the understanding that his fear was of her leaving him gives things a certain perspective. She shakes her head. "You really are an idiot." At that, all she can do is lean forward and hug him, tight.

"I know…" Peter says with a gentle, crooked smile, his laugh choked with emotion as his arms come around Helena, holding her close and tight to him. "But I'm your idiot."

Helena turns her head, leans back a little to regard him. "You are." she confirms before pressing her cheek to his. She lets out a little purr, turning her nose toward him and inhaling, like she likes the way he smells before leaning back again. She shakes her head. He just issued a rather shocking, devestating confession and she got caught up in how he smells. Shameful.

"Lena," Peter leans forward on his knees, still holding one of her hands in his, bringing it up to his lips in a gentle kiss on the back of her thumb before continuing. "I want you to know, that… That I need you." His smile turns somewhat awkward, perhaps shy in saying something so from the heart. "I do, I need you because your strong." His hand squeezes hers, "I just…" His eyes divert slightly, down to the cover of the loveseat. "If things don't… If something happens," His eyes upturn, looking at her intently, "I need you to be strong. For me. Because that's what everyone else is going to need." He smiles, weakly, crawling up further and climbing into the loveseat with Helena, settling down to sit at her side, one arm around her shoulders, his free hand clutching hers.

Helena looks up at him, her mouth curving into a frown. Then, "Shut up." She half rises so she can face him and gives him another kiss, but unlike the others previous, this is a kiss with…intention. She resettles, on her knees on the cushion, her hands resting on his chest so she can lean in. Age aside, Helena's had to grow up fast, and here and now, she knows what she's doing.

There's surprise in Peter's expression when Helena shows aggression, but there is no sign of reluctance. He had lost one woman to hesitance once before, and that most assuredly wouldn't happen again. For all his worth, Peter knows this could be the last time he spends alone with Helena, the last time he can find solace in her embrace. Peter keeps helena's hand in his, squeezing it gently as he leans back to allow the girl to rest against him. His free hand moves down, brushing over her back, fingers gliding over the soft cotton of her shirt, to find purchase at the bare region of skin at her midriff. His fingertips lightly caress there, then circle around to brush over her stomach, fingertips ever so shakily finding their way beneath the fabric of the front of her t-shirt, going no further. "Helena…" Peter whispers, his lips finally parting from hers, warm breath felt with each word, "I…" He can not find the words.

"Seriously, is this whole talking too much thing a genetic trait of the Petrelli men? Shut up, Peter." she says again. "We're going to be risking our lives soon enough. Your mouth has better things to do today."

Peter's lips crack into a smile, and he leans up, resting his nose against Helena's, eyes falling halfway shut, "You're the boss," He says without a moment of hesitation, drawing Helena down towards him and into his embrace. And for one more time, it feels like the world falls away, and all that remains, are just the two of them.

/Much later that night…

It is the sound of a cell phone ringing that stirs Peter from his rest, one bare arm around Helena, curled up on his side, cradling the girl to his chest beneath the slightly dusty comforters of his bed. The rythmic buzzing of the phone sounds from his pocket, and he rolls his head to the side, letting out a very unpleased noise. His hand slides from around Helena's bare midsection, fingers teasingly stroking over bare skin before he rolls onto one side, reaching for his jacket. "It never ends." Peter mumbles, sitting up halfway in the bed, the moonlight spilling through the windows and sliding glass door in the bedroom casting blue shadows on fair skin.

Rummaging around in the coat pocket, Peter produces a small and very cheap looking phone, flipping it open. He nods, closing the phone, and remains seated there, turning slowly to look back at the beautiful young woman behind him.

Helena rolls over at the tickle onto her stomach, her cheek turned to the pillow and an arm splayed out, as if to lay on Peter's torso. She has a funny, almost feline smile on her face even in her slumber, some of her hair half hiding her features and the rest fanning over her shoulder. He can't see it with his back turned, but slowly her lashes lift, stirring to wakefulness even though she doesn't move from her resting position.

With a tired sigh, Peter lays the phone down on the nightstand. It feels so strange to be back here, to for a moment forget when and where he is, hiding in a place like this — his old home. He leans back over Helena, brushing her hair back from her face with one hand, fingers raking gently through her wavy locks. Peter leans down, pressing his lips to Helena's cheek in a gentle kiss, whispering, "Come on, we have to get up…" His hand moves to lightly brush along her arm, "We've got to get back…" He doesn't want to go, to leave her, to leave this place behind. He wants to stay lost in the past, to stay behind and let the world fall away again, to let everything disappear into her arms.

Helena slowly sits up. She's not shy about her lack of clothing. She regards him with a faint smile, turns it into a moueue of disapointment, but she too is a soul who understands her duty. "Okay." she says softly. She reaches for her clothing, and here's hoping she is neither shot nor deported.

Peter sees that look, and reaches up to lightly take her chin in his hand, lips ghosting against hers lightly, then whispers, "Incentive to make it back alive." He brushes her cheek with his nose, as if to nudge her back, smiling broadly the entire time. As Peter sits straight again, he swings his legs off of the bed, looking for his clothing. "It was Wireless," He motions to the phone, "She wants me to check out the computer." A crooked, playful smile flits across Peter's features. "That might take a bit." Standing up from the bed, turning in silhouette to Helena, Peter starts the slow and tired process of getting dressed again. "So…" He looks down, pulling his tanktop over his head to give him time to think, "What is this?" He looks to Helena, his intent rather clear, "Us?"

"It is what it is." Helena replies serenely. "And I think trying to figure it out right now might be a little more then we can both handle with what's coming. Are you sorry?" She starts putting on her clothes. "Because I'm not."

Peter furrows his brows, tilting his head to the side, "It…" The exact same words Cat said to him, it gives him reason to pause. Slowly, though, a smile comes across his lips, "I'm not sorry at all." The answer is immediate and true, and as he watches Helena in the dim night light, he knows that it is, to him, truth. By now buttoning his dress shirt, Peter seems to have a difficult time keeping his eyes off of Helena, a warm and bright smile clinging to his lips. He always attracts the strong women.

"Don't remind me," Peter says with a crooked smile, and as he picks up his jacket, something comes crashing to the floor with a jingling clatter. His brow raises, and he walks over to crouch by the nightstand. "Huh," When he stands up again, he's holding a set of keys with a surprised look. "Hey…" He turns, looking to Helena, "Catch." The keys jingl and rattle, sailing through the air towards the young woman.

Helena blinks as she has to drop her pants to catch the keys, which is a pretty funny sight. She laughs and hunkers down to pull them up, mock-gushing, "Oh Petey, the key to your roller skates and bicycle? We're so steady now!"

Peter cocks his head to the side and raises one brow, and from across the room there is a resounding — but light — smack sound on Helena's rear. "Cute," He says while laughing, "No, those are the keys to this apartment." He motions one hand to the window, "One of them is a key to Nathan's place, and the other," He looks back at the keyring in her hands. "Keys to my car, which I think is somewhere in the blast-zone." He shakes his head, eyes closing. "I'm not using this place anymore, and it looks like my brother and mom stopped caring about packing my things up." He rolls one shoulder, "Call it a precaution."

Helena lets out a laugh at the smack, "Hey, no time for that, you said!" But finally finishes putting on clothes. "Alright." she says. "I hope I never have to use it, but if I do…I promise to take good care of it."

Peter nods, circling around the bed with his coat slung over one shoulder, dressed all but for his shoes. He comes right up to Helena, wrapping an arm around her waist and leans down, pressing one last kiss to her lips before leaning back, fretfully brushing a lock of hair from her face. "I know," He says softly, smiling to her, "I trust you."

September 18th: The Red Zone

Previously in this storyline…
The Red Zone

Next in this storyline…

September 18th: Friends In Digital Places
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