New Chances


elle_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title New Chances
Synopsis Elle reveals a truth she learned ten years in the future, from the very woman she's telling it to now.
Date August 15, 2010

The Octagon - Elle's Apartment

The apartments of the Octagon are among some of the most prime pieces of rental real-estate in New York City. Bright, open, and clean, these apartments are all painted an eggshell white and feature floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a sweeping, unobstructed view of the East River and Manhattan skyline. Hardwood floors spread from wall to wall and through the spacious bedrooms and private laundry rooms complete with washer/dryer utilities.

The open-concept kitchen in the apartment features stainless steel appliances, polished granite countertops, cherry finished cabinets and ceramic floor tile with all the convenience of a modern kitchen. The bathrooms are finished with classic subway wall tile and porcelain floor tile in bathrooms with elegantly designed corner-set curved showers wproviding more spacious shower area along with porcelain pedestal sinks.

Each apartment comes in two or three bedroom designs, each with spacious walk-in closets with individually controlled heating and cooling. The apartment is also set up with free Cable TV and Internet hook-ups in multiple locations.

Once they came home, Elle quietly showed Odessa to the spare bedroom, before disappearing for a few hours, on the grounds of handling a few articles of business. When she came home last night, she passed out, exhausted from being a living battery for Darren, in the process of reviving Odessa from the brink of death. This morning, she disappeared again for a few hours.

With a click, the lock turns, and Elle enters the apartment. She wears a blue sun dress today, complete with matching flip flops. Her left arm is still in her sling, with her purse slung over her good shoulder, and a bag of food hanging from her good hand. Bumping the door closed with her rear, she peers around as she enters. "Odessa?" Walking in, she sets the bag on the table. "I got you some food…"

It's time to finally talk to Odessa. To clarify things.

Odessa considered after her arrival last night simply sinking into the guest bed and sleeping for an age, but she wouldn't be a very good guest if she left bits of… Well… She decided to be polite and shower before crawling into bed. Where she's stayed all night, and all day. When Elle returns home, she can hear the stirring from the bedroom…

But it's only the sounds of the covers being pulled up tight over Odessa's head. "I'm here," she thinks to call, lest her hostess think that she's fled or something.

Clothing had been set out for Odessa when she had showered, an outfit that Elle selected to look good on Odessa. Pajamas were even provided, as well. The electrokinetic's kindness may have come as quite a shocker for Odessa.

Elle quietly pulls the two boxes out of the bag, setting them both on the dining room table. She then wanders into the kitchen, pouring two sodas and setting those on the table. "I got you a tuna sandwich. You have to come out here to eat it, though." She glances toward the bedroom apprehensively, frowning as she fusses at the yellow ribbon keeping her hair away from her face for but a moment.

Then, the little blonde makes her way slowly into the bedroom that Odessa is hiding in, leaning against the door frame and peering into the dimly lit bedroom. "And I need to have a talk with you." Her mind flits back to the conversation held in the future, one that will probably never take place, in all actuality. Elle Bishop only hopes that she can manage to convey to Odessa what her future self conveyed to her.

"What am I? Six?" Odessa retorts with annoyance at being told that if she wants to eat, she has to go to the table. She could have sworn one of the perks of coming into adulthood was being able to eat wherever the hell she wants.

She pulls the covers away, and at first she's baffled as to why this doesn't give her a view of Elle, when she remembers that the right half of her face is still pressed into the pillow, her left eye useless for sight. Useless for much of anything except perhaps as something that will scare small children and cause those with weak stomachs to recoil. Odessa pulls the blanket back up over her head and sits up carefully before pulling it back to reveal only the right side of her face. It would look terribly childish — well, it does look terribly childish — if not for the practicality of hiding her scars so as not to detract from conversation.

"What do you want, Elle?" The white-haired woman manages to look annoyed. It's like they never stopped being teenagers together, vying for Daddy Bishop's attentions and praise.

Elle offers a soft sigh, shaking her head for a moment. She remembers when the things that Daddy Bishop used to want were important. Now…well, it's almost an act of spite in itself that she plans to have this conversation. Blue eyes trail over Odessa's white hair. She knows the scars aren't there. "Well, I'd let you eat in there, but I'm trying to at least keep the illusion of a well cared for home. I'm…I'm trying to do things different." She watches Odessa for a moment, frowning and crossing her arms.

"What do I want?" Odessa may also be surprised by the patience Elle is showing with her, when in past days, equal venom would have been spewed. She shakes her head quietly, sighing as she tries to put together what she wants to say. How to say the things to right the wrongs that her father committed. She can't fix all of them…but she can at least try to fix this one. She decides to buy herself a little bit of time. Turning on her heel, she begins to walk toward the kitchen, calling back her response as she goes.

"I want peace, Odessa." Her flip flops click against her heels as she moves into the kitchen, sitting down in front of her ham sandwich.

For a moment, it seems as though Odessa is just going to be a spiteful child and stay in bed. But suddenly, she's sitting across the table from Elle with her own sandwich. No longer dressed in Elle's pajamas, she's wearing the outfit set out for her, with one minor addition. One of Elle's scarves is tied cocked around her head, serving as a makeshift patch to cover her bad eye.

"You remember little things," she utters softly before bringing her glass of soda to her lips for sip. "Like that your favourite colour is blue. You prefer bacon to sausage. You like ham and pineapple on your pizza." Odessa's gaze lifts to settle on Elle. "You told me the smell of tuna made you sick." A memory of an angry Elle flashes through Odessa's mind, no older than twelve. The girl throws Odessa's lunch into a trash bin before the two both lunge at each other and attempt to pull out handfuls of the other's blonde hair.

It was the supposed favourtism that made Elle sick. The same favourtism, appearing to be directed at Elle instead, is what would drive Odessa to new heights of anger in those days. "You had everything. And you wanted to take away what little I had, too." White brows furrow, arched in such a way as to betray more sorrow than her pursed lips and narrowed gaze attempt to portray.

Elle blinks a few times as Odessa is suddenly there, and fully dressed. Old her would have probably gotten angry about the scarf…but new her takes it in stride. Surprisingly enough, a sad, wistful smile forms on the little blonde's face as she takes a bite of her ham sandwich, chewing thoughtfully. This results in almost awkward silence, which is only made longer by the girl washing her food down with her soda.

Finally, she speaks, her eyes on Odessa's good eye, ignoring the scars and the white hair and the extra little wrinkles that make her look more like she did in the future. Her voice is soft, tinged with a sadness likely never heard by this Odessa. "It was all a lie, 'Dessa…"

Her eyes trail down to the sandwich, lingering there. "On my side…it was always you. I thought you had the life that I wanted. Daddy…he always praised you in front of me. Odessa this, Odessa that. I always felt like he loved you more than he loved me, his own daughter." She takes another bite, chewing for a long moment and washing it down again. "On your side…I always got what you wanted, didn't I? Dad always gave me the freedom that you always craved so much."

She slowly raises her gaze to meet Odessa's again. "Am I right?"

Odessa nods her head, almost reluctant to admit that her rival is right. "He used to say that if I worked really hard, if I was the best, that maybe someday I would be able to be a field agent. That maybe I could go investigate things, just like you." Even when Elle can't hold it, the scrutiny of Odessa's gaze stays a constant on Elle's face, searching the lines of it for any sign of the lies she's expecting to be told. Searching for weakness.

There are no signs of lies. In fact, the look on Elle's face is one of almost sorrowful sincerity. She simply nods slowly for a few moments, her eyes hooding. She takes another bite of her sandwich, chewing slowly, deliberately, for a long moment. Then, she continues the ritual, washing it down before taking a breath to speak once more.

"He played us against each other, Odessa. He purposely gave you what I always wanted. And he purposely gave me what you always wanted." She lowers her eyes back down to the plate, falling silent. She doesn't begin eating again, just being quiet now, going still as a statue. Then, she animates again. "He pitted us against each other. Used us to advance his own agendas." Her eyes search Odessa's remaining eye.

"It's all been a lie, 'Dessa…you and I aren't enemies."

That one cobalt eye watches the way Elle's lips move as she explains herself. Explains their entire upbrining. Over the course of the conversation, Odessa pushed her food away almost subtly. When Elle finishes speaking, there's only silence for what seems like the longest of moments. They aren't enemies.

Then there's a sudden BAM! and the clatter of the glasses and plates on the table as Odessa pounds the flat of her hand onto the surface viciously.

"You could have been nicer to me!" Odessa shrieks, coming to stand up so quickly that her chair skitters back and topples over. With both palms flat on the table, she leans toward Elle, fury starkly ablaze against dark blue. "I just wanted you to like me! I wanted to be you!" Despite the anger, there's a pleading edge to her tone. A pleading for Elle to understand the torture it was growing up together.

The sudden look of sorrow that appears on Elle's face is almost indescribable. Elle's eyes turn down toward her plate once more. The words that come next are soft, barely audible across the table, but they reach Odessa's ears anyhow. "I'm sorry that things were the way they were when we were growing up, 'Dessa. Please…please, understand. I wanted to be you, too. My dad never gave me praise…and he made it a point to praise you in front of me." She frowns. "Acting out was the only way I knew how to react back then."

Elle closes her eyes. "Just…please, take a step back. Look at the big picture, Odessa. He used me to push you further. He used you to push me further." She looks so tiny, sitting there right now, tiny and mentally exhausted by all that she's discovered about her so-called life.

"I'm leaving the Company, 'Dessa. Everything about that place is lies. Lies and deceit and stolen lives…they stole my life, they stole your life…they took so much from both of us. We'll never get back what they took." Elle finally looks up to Odessa with moist eyes. "And I can't take back the way I treated you. I never can, 'Dessa. But I can tell you that I really am sorry. I really wish I could take it all back."

Odessa backs up slowly, stooping down to right the chair knocked over. Her hands are shaking. She's not emotionally stable enough for much of this. She doesn't feel physically stable enough for this. She's processing Elle's words, trying not to let her anger fully cloud her judgement.

Calm comes over the temporal manipulator slowly as she retakes her seat. She reaches for her glass, but doesn't quite reach far enough at first before attempting to close her fingers around it, drawing a dismayed look that only lasts as long as it takes her to correct her aim. "So what, then? We just… Pretend we never hated each other?"

Elle watches quietly, tilting her head to one side. "I don't think it's that easy…but I never really hated you, 'Dessa. I just…my dad made you an easy target for blame. Just like I'm sure he did the same for you." She sighs softly, lifting her partially eaten sandwich and peering at it. "I think we should just…let the past be the past. Let it stay there. Let's…let's start just by being friendly to each other. Try to find some common ground, maybe.

Elle peers across the table at the girl, taking another bite of her sandwich and chewing it, then washing it down. "The Company is dying…all it's going to take is my dad declaring war on the Institute, which is looking more and more likely every day. I'm not going down with the ship. Not for them. Not after I've seen what they do." She shakes her head, setting the sandwich down. "You remember how I used to talk about my mom, how she abandoned Daddy and I?"

Odessa pulls her plate close again and begins to eat her lunch as she listens to Elle. When asked about remembering Elle speaking of her mother, Odessa nods, swallowing her food and taking a sip of soda. "Yes, I remember." Her usual retort was at least you even had a mother.

Elle offers another one of those heartbreaking smiles, one of a weary soul who has had far too much thrown on her plate over time. "She really didn't abandon us. She was a scientist for the Company, and a wonderful mother. Then, Arthur Petrelli decided to eliminate her department. He arranged for the department my mom worked in to be destroyed." She pushes the half-eaten sandwich away, sipping at her drink. "Literally. She was killed before my ability even manifested."

She frowns, staring down into the soda. "I found out, and I was really, really upset. My dad…" She stumbles over the words, as if she still has trouble saying what really happened. It still bothers her, in a way that she can't hide. "My dad convinced Charles Deveaux to erase all of my memories of her."

Anyone else might have asked how Bob Bishop could live with himself. The knowledge that his wife was gone, and the knowledge of what he'd done to his own daughter. Odessa either doesn't care, or feels she understands.

"Makes a lot of sense, in a sick sort of way," she tells the electrokinetic. "So that's why you've decided you want out?" Odessa falls quiet again. She's starving in truth, but doing her best to eat slowly so as not to show it.

The little blonde stares at the sandwich, reaching out to poke at it once or twice. "That's part of the reason. There's so much more…but that was a big part of the reason. Not only did the Company and my dad take my mom away from me, but they took my memories of her. All I have is a video of my first birthday." She glances toward the cabinet that contains the TV, a single VHS tape stood up in a shelf.

"Like I said before…I'm not going down with the ship. The Company has taken so much…from me, from you, from so many of its people…how can I even think of defending it?" She shakes her head.

Then, she's looking at Odessa once more, sipping at her soda. "Do you think we can just try, 'Dessa? Try to see eye to eye for once in our lives? Who knows…maybe Harper's right, and we have a lot more in common than we'd have ever thought. Maybe we can cultivate the friendship that my father didn't want to happen, or at least try."

That one good eye winces faintly at something Elle says, but doesn't comment on it. Instead, her hand comes up almost as if to shush the other woman. Instead, it's the room that seems to hush. All the white noise is suddenly painfully absent. "The Company is terrible, but they're a buffer. They protect people like us from the government. Don't you understand? Have you seen what the Institute does to us? At least the worst that could happen at the hands of the Company is they would toss you in lockup down on Level Five, and negate your ability, or just flat-out kill you."

Odessa turns her head to look around the frozen room before leaning forward conspiratorially. "I've seen what the Institute does to negate people like us. Those coffins? You have to have seen them." And it seems the doctor has a very healthy fear of them.

Elle frowns, shaking her head. "But they do so much worse than that, Odessa. Yeah, those consequences are pretty mellow…but they stole my life, Odessa. I don't know if my mom and I ever ate pancakes on a Saturday morning. I don't remember building sandcastles. I don't remember her voice. I don't remember anything. They molded me into a fucking monster, Odessa. I used to be a normal little girl. Unicorns, rainbows, ponies. They killed whatever I might have been, snuffed it out in favor of their goals."

The blonde looks down to the table. "I've seen those coffins. They put Warren in one after I electrocuted him. It's…pretty damn scary." She looks back up to Odessa. "That's why I'm making sure they don't want to do any of that shit. They've done good by me, Odessa. And they can do good by you, too."

"So now you fall in line to the tune of a different drum tapping out the same damn beat? Ellie…" Odessa shakes her head, a frown on her lips. "As long as they put the best offer on the table, I'll offer my services." A dismissive hand as the woman leans back resumes the sounds of the apartment and the world beyond it. "I'll give this a shot." Friendship, the Institute.

"I can't help it. It's…I don't know, it feels comfortable, doing what I'm doing. It's what I do best…" Elle leans back in her chair, peering quietly at Odessa. A small smile appears on her face, and she offers a slow nod. "Thank you, Odessa. I'll be sure that they know that." She raises her soda in a toast.

"To new chances."

Odessa smirks. It's not the pretty, if somewhat wicked expression that it used to be. She lifts her glass and clinks it with Elle's.

"New chances."

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