Mind the Sunflowers


claire_icon.gif helena_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Mind the Sunflowers
Synopsis Claire and Helena meet with Sylar.
Date September 29, 2008

Condemned Tenement

Once home to dozens of working-class families, this building has long ago been officially evacuated and condemned after it was partially gutted by a fire. The brick exterior is covered with layer upon layer of graffiti, the windows are boarded, and some sections of the roof are less than sound. The fire took hold on the fourth floor and expanded upward. Below that, many of the apartments are still intact.

Meet at their old building, Sylar had said. Others have agreed that they're in on the plan, but it's Claire and Helena, arguably the two most interested in Peter's return that are currently waiting at the steps of the tenement. With a small shiver, Helena reaches out and knocks on the door, looking over at Claire with an expression that Daniel might have had before entering the lion's den. Except he had faith. "Do you think we could get him to come out here?" In the open. Helena's not that hopeful.

Claire simply sends a look Helena's way. What do you think? She steps up, gently nudging her friend half behind her. "If he wants us dead, it doesn't matter if we're inside or out." The brunette's hand slips down the blonde's arm and grasps her hand tightly for a few moments, giving and drawing strength.

Helena's mouth purses tight. "Yeah." she agrees. Balling her hand into a fist, she bangs on the door more loudly. It seems strange…but it's really not their place anymore. "What am I doing?" she mutters, rolling her eyes and grabs the handle, turning to see if it'll open so they can make their way in.

"Should I just get my keys?" Claire pats her coat pocket, which jingles quietly. "He didn't leave it open, did he?" She stares down at the handle, not sure whether she wants it to turn or not.

The handle turns. Helena's right; it isn't PARIAH's place anymore, and unlike PARIAH, Sylar has very little to hide. He has no need for locks.

The door tugs open. "Into the frying pan. Or maybe the belly of the beast." With a shrug that hides her fear, Helena enters the building, conscious of Claire's presence beside her, which provides some measure of comfort. Quantum of solace. Whatever. "Hello?" she calls out.

"It's not polite to invite company and keep them waiting at the door," Claire grumbles loud enough to carry through the nearby rooms. Helena's hand gets one more brief squeeze. She doesn't have to say what's on her mind. I don't like this, Hel', is written all over her face.

Helena's voice echoes through the tenement, hollow and lost. Upstairs, the sound of footsteps bearing down on the hardwood floors can clearly be heard, causing particles of dust and ash to come loose from the ceiling and flutter around the teenagers' heads. Sylar, because that's who it must be, appears at the top of the stairs, the tips of his fingers drifting along the old wrought-iron handrail as he makes his way down to the foyer. "Would you rather I jump out from the shadows and shout 'boo'?"

Helena considers several retorts, bites them all back. "Hi Sylar, how are you, how're the plants, are you enjoying the art, no thank you, we'll pass on tea and cookies. Now that the niceties are out of the way, we want to know what you've got in mind to extract Elle Bishop. For starters."

Claire's eyes fix on Sylar and the girl finds herself without words. If he was going for intimidating? He achieved it. She only manages to nod slightly in agreement to Helena's sentiments. Down to business.

Sylar stops at the bottom of the stairs and, with a sharp flick of his wrist, the door behind Helena and Claire slams shut with enough force to rattle the walls. "I haven't exactly had much of an opportunity to look around," he admits, "but you really should have told me about the plants earlier. I would have watered them for you." As for Bishop? "Honestly, Helena, there's no need to be so… confrontational. Like I tried to tell you before, if I wanted you dead, you would be."

Helena really, really wants to run right back to the safehouse, pull a blanket over her head, and scream like a six year old. Claire is welcome to join her. Even if she feels like a frightened rabbit, she at least tries not to look it. "Well I guess that means we can invite you to our knitting circle after all." And then because she can't help herself, "The garden's on the roof. Mind the sunflowers, you have to talk to them." Okaaay. Then, "Call it focused. You want to get to one of those escapees, getting Elle and trading her for Peter somehow gets you him. Alright, we get that. But you're the one with all the cards, so we want to know how you expect this to go down." Yeah, last time they were used as fodder unknowingly, and this time they're lining up.

To her credit, Claire doesn't jump when the door slams shut. It's nothing she didn't expect. "You know, for someone who wants help, you could stand to make at least an attempt to be less creepy." She purses her lips and forces herself not to glance at her partner. Do you see, Hel'? I told you so.

A smile twitches at the corner of Sylar's mouth. "Oh, Claire. You don't even know what creepy looks like, but if that's what you want — I can show you." His eyes dart back to Helena. Focused? He can do focused. "What we have here is a breakdown of communication. If I was the one with all the cards, I wouldn't have come to you and Peter in the first place. Did he ever tell you, I wonder, what really happened two years ago?"

Helena wasn't asked, but she doesn't want. She is whole mountains of not wanting. "I know what he believes." Helena says quietly. She's not sure how this fits in with Sylar's Plan <tm>. But he's a villain, they monologue, so she'll shut her trap and let him explain himself.

"We already know," Claire states defiantly, squaring her shoulders. "All right, so you haven't got all the aces, so you're playing Go Fish with our hand. What do you need from us? And why should we believe you'll actually give Peter back to us in one piece?"

"I can't afford to make any more enemies than I already have," Sylar says. "And as much as I'd love to see what makes you both tick, it isn't necessary. No ability is completely unique. I've learned from my mistakes, Claire. Gorging isn't going to get me anywhere. All I want is for Peter to take responsibility for his actions, as I'm taking responsibility for mine. No one will ever know the truth if he's dead."

Helena cocks her head. "So what, you want to clear your name? I mean, you're cool with being a serial killer, but being accused of a higher body count just doesn't sit well with you?" She sounds slightly incredulous. "What does it have to do with that one Level 5 prisoner you were positively itching to get your claws into? The one I assume you're going to go after once we face off with these people."

"It's not his fault," Claire insists. "It's mine. I was supposed to be there to make sure none of that would happen. He blames himself enough. The whole world doesn't need to blame him, too. What's the matter, Sylar? Don't like the blood on your hands just because they weren't all different? Weren't special?" The former cheerleader sneers. "Why should we believe you've changed at all?"

"His name is Adam Monroe," Sylar tells Helena, "and I learned about him while the Company had me incarcerated. Probably in the same cell that Peter's in right now. He can do what Claire can do, so you can believe me when I say I don't need her anymore." What he does need, however, is for Claire to be quiet — and so he reaches out and pinches his index finger and his thumb together, using his telekinesis to squeeze her lips shut. "Don't." Once more, his attention shifts back to the blonde, and the expression on his face softens. Just a little. "What you need to do is have your people initiate contact with Monroe and find out if Bishop is even alive."

Helena sees what he does to Claire. "Stop it." she says, frantically. "Let her go!" A gust of wind rustles up in echo of her agitation, sending debris on the stairwell fluttering. Distressed, she continues, "I haven't the faintest idea of how to get in touch with this man. And do you really think him or the others he's with will want to give up one of the people who kept them captive for however long?" A guy with Claire's powers? Which could lead to Sylar with Claire's powers. That is so not good.

Claire's eyes fly open, wide and incredulous when Sylar cuts her off by holding her mouth shut with his abilities. She lets out a frustrated and angered, muffled cry.

"You have an intelligence network. I don't. Finding Monroe is going to be difficult, but it isn't impossible — especially not for someone with your resources." Sylar wrinkles his nose, fighting back a sneeze. The gust might not be that powerful, but it's stirred up enough dust that his airways are starting to become irritated. He releases Claire and takes a single step back, one arm raised to shield his nose and mouth. "We have to start somewhere," he says, his voice slightly muffled, "but if you have a better plan, I'm all ears."

Helena's expression grows thoughtful. "How did you find Peter? It's not like we had a neon sign over this building." Sylar taking Adam's abilities gets shuffled to back priority. "Even if we find him, I doubt he or his people will give up that Company agent without a fight. And the longer it takes, the worse off condition she'll be in, undoubtedly." If only she could get to the elusive Molly Walker…

"How I found Peter is a conversation for another day. If I thought I could locate Monroe and Bishop using the same method, I'd have done so already." When the air is clear enough, Sylar lowers his arm and uses his opposite hand to dust the debris from his hair. "I'm not asking you to tell Monroe what we're after, or why. Just try to arrange a meeting and we'll take it from there."

Helena stares up at Sylar, trying not to sound resentful and angry. "I'll see what we can do." she says in a neutral tone. Reaching out for Claire's arm, she's a little girl with a stick, facing off against the Devil. "You let us out now, and we'll be in touch."

Claire claims Helena's hand in a show not so much of fear, but of solidarity. At least, that's what she's hoping to convey. "Don't call us, we'll call you, as they say."

As Sylar turns away from Helena and Claire, the front door clicks open just enough for the outside light to filter inside the tenement. "I'll be here."

September 29th: No One Expects the Russian Inquisition
September 29th: The Insidious Panini Conspiracy
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