Pinpricks of Guilt


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Scene Title Pinpricks of Guilt
Synopsis Winters returns to Veronica's apartment after the battle at Pinehearst. Dinner is served, pasta with a side of secrets exposed.
Date July 24 2009

Dorchester Towers: Veronica's apartment

Minimalist and modern without being too much like a mausoleum, this apartment is one large room — wherever one stands, one can see the other "rooms." The kitchen is sleek with black lacquer and stainless steel. The living room boasts a comfortable white faux-suede couch with black throw pillows, a black walnut coffee table, and a large plasma screen television. A black entertainment center holds many DVDs and CDs, an Ipod docking station and surround sound. The dining room is simply a black walnut table with six high-back chairs. A small hallway leads to a single large bedroom with a King-sized bed and simple white down comforter with more black walnut furniture. A bathroom in the hallway is simple — a large shower, a vanity sink, a toilet — the basics.

There weren't a lot of details given over the phone. "OK" is a relative term, and Veronica sits on the couch, staring at the door. She always had an active imagination as a child, and now it's come back with all sorts of possibilities that she shoots down. There's a half-finished glass of whiskey on the coffee table, partially to ease a bit of the pain in her shoulder and partially to ease the nerves.
Finally the knock comes, and she's up to answer it in one swift motion. She's wearing cut off sweat shorts and a Berkeley t-shirt when she swings the door open.


Having stripped most of his body armor, Brian is still wearing all black. A tight black sleeveless shirt, a pair of black pants, (knee pads still equipped) and a sturdy pair of boots. The holster around his waist is empty, he apparently thought it a good idea to come into the apartment complex unarmed. He's dirty though, random streaks of black dot him, ash, dried blood, and dirt. Though contrary to his faded and worn out appearance he offers a light smile.

"Miss me?" A hefty step is taken in, his arm flying out to close the door behind him. As he would usually go into embracing and kissing Veronica first, tonight he makes a direct course for the couch which he immediately collapses on. Letting out a long breath. "He's dead."

Vee gasps a little at the sight of him. "Are you okay?" she asks, following him to the couch. She sits on the coffee table, picking up the whiskey glass and handing it to him, then tracing a streak of blood on his face. "Are you hurt? I have a first aid kit… What happened?" she asks. Her husky voice is quieter than usual, as if he might break if she speaks too loudly. Her dark eyes scan his and then his body, seeking injuries. "I was worried about you," she adds softly, catching one of his hands and squeezing it.

One boot comes up to rest on the coffee table. She may yell at him for putting his feet on her furniture. But it used to be his place too! Tilting his head back on the couch he lazily takes the glass and pours just a tiny bit into his mouoth before handing it back. "We blew stuff up, shot people.. You know, the usual. I got killed a bunch." A shrug is offered. "They had some freaky-ass evolved." He shakes his head though as she takes his hand. "Whatever. It's over. Come here." He murmurs patting his lap with his free hand. "You don't have to worry about me." A little reassuring smile.

She shakes her head a little at his stoic nature. He's so different from that green, so green he was neon, rookie agent just months ago. She moves to his lap as asked — a sign she really was worried about him — and puts her arms around his neck, forehead bumping his. "A bunch of you died?" she says with a wince, remembering how it felt when her temporary replicates died. "You could have died, Brian." Her eyes fill with tears for a moment at the thought and she whispers, "I don't want to lose you again."

A little 'mm' is let out as she joins him, his lips turning into a bright smile as her arms slide around his neck. "It takes a lot to kill me for good, Vee. It's not going to happen anytime soon." His lips fading slowly as her eyes well up. "Baby." He says in a soothing voice, "I'm okay. Everything's okay." His hand slides up her back, going to run through her hair. "Are you okay?"

"They killed the other Brian…" she points out. She blinks back those traitorous tears and ducks her head into his shoulder. "I'm fine. Just… worried. How did you do it? Are you sure he's really dead?" She looks back up, her eyes clear once more but no less solemn as she looks into his face. "I mean… they thought he was dead before, didn't they?"

"He was not trained like I am." Winters assures her. "They got him with a nasty virus. And the reports went out that he was dead. I.. I died before I could see it all finish." Weird. Talking about how he died while sitting on the couch with her on his lap. "Powers are weird." He concedes with a little laugh. "Come on Vee. Don't be worried. We should be happy right now. I'm avenged, Pinehearst is done with, this is a great night. We should be celebrating."

Veronica frowns as he speaks of the virus and then dying, giving a shake of her head that tosses her hair into her eyes. She doesn't understand and wants to know more, but that latent sensitivity wakes up and realizes he doesn't want to go through it blow by blow. "Okay. You're right. All that matters," she murmurs, leaning forward to brush her lips against his, "is that you're all right." She looks at him. "Go shower, you're all… grimy. You have some clothes in the closet." New ones — she threw out the old ones, in case they were bugged. "I'll make something to eat, open some champagne…?"

A large smile forms as she kisses him, "You're too good to me." Letting his foot fall from the coffee table she waits until she gets off of him before standing. His shirt comes off right there and of course is flung on the back of the couch as he makes his way towards the bathroom. "This virus. Petrelli said something like advent, but it kind of reminded me of the files I read on the cherry cobbler virus? Did you ever read those?" He asks over his shoulder as he goes into the bathroom. "Really gross, lots of blood and goo involved. I'd never seen it before just saw the Company files. Think it could be the same thing?" He asks, not closing the door to the bathroom. They're talking. And she's seen him naked enough already, the water comes on in the shower.

"That's how they killed Fulk?" she says, heading into the kitchen to start rustling up pans for something simple and filling. Pesto will work. She's actually a decent cook when she tries. She puts the water on to boil, pulls out ingredients, and begins chopping up basil, garlic and pine nuts. Slow going, with one hand. "Yeah, I read them at some point. God. That's awful." She shudders thinking of it.

"No. No. Arthur killed Fulk with his voodoo." Brian calls out from the bathroom, now entering the shower. With the water running he finds himself inside the curse, when you're in the shower people can hear you, but you can't hear them. :( "That's how they killed Arthur. With a syringe of the virus. There must have been.. I don't know. A bunch of us up there, shooting at him, using powers, he just wouldn't go down. This guy named Richard Cardinal stuck him with it." Winters explains as he attempts to scrub the blood dirt and grime off of his body. "So if it's the same thing.. I don't know maybe you could bring it to the Company's attention. They seemed to be experimenting with it. There were people in hospital gowns with uncontrollable powers, they seemed like they were dying from the power. They were trying to get the formula together, like the formula they used on me? When I was a baby? Maybe?"

"Oh." She can't be heard, but she shakes her head — she can't follow the conversation very well. Too many dead people in the equation. She continues to make the sauce, then tosses angel hair into the boiling pot of water. Finally, she moves the sauce to the stove to heat it. With the stove heating the two components of the meal, she heads to the refrigerator, pulling out a bottle of champagne left over from one of their early partnership celebrations. She leaves it for him to open — it's one of the rare things she's afraid of, opening a champagne bottle.

The water shuts off. "Whatever I guess. Doesn't matter anymore right? The building's blown up. But.." A thoughtful tone crosses his voice. "If you could have a superpower, what would it be?" More calling out as he goes to get dressed. "Not that I want the formula to be released or anything, just saying. Our world would look a lot different, you know?" As he pulls up a pair of sweats he idly wonders if he would have taken replication were he given a choice. "Flying seems like it would be a lot of fun." Sliding on a white tee, he then strolls back out into the kitchen. "Whatya' makin'?"

She shakes her head. "I don't understand. This formula is the thing that killed Petrelli, but it worked on you? Or is it a different formula they injected him with?" She gestures. "Just pasta. And I don't want a super hero." She hands him the champagne bottle. "You open that," she orders, before putting her fingers in her ears to muffle the POP! sound.

"They obviously didn't get it right this time around." Winters explains. "I don't know shit about science, but I imagine it's complicated." Brian says with an arch of his brow as if she should understand this universal fact. Science is hard. So are ties. "You wouldn't take any power, Vee? You don't want to fly? Or to know when someone is lying. You're telling me you wouldn't enjoy that at all?" He takes the bottle before going to make the iminent.


"Happy new year." He says with a smile going to set the foaming bottle in the sink. Looking over at the pasta, he walks by her giving her good shoulder a little squeeze. "Can't wait. I'm pretty hungry, now that I take time to think about it."

She jumps just slightly, even knowing the POP is coming. It's really rather illogical. She doesn't jump at gun shots, but champagne bottles are scary. She nods. "So it was the same formula but went FUBAR on him… maybe because he's already EVO? I have no idea. Obviously that Cardinal guy knew it would do something to him, if that's how they took him down, though," she points out. She goes to the freezer and pulls out a bag of already-cooked chicken strips, pulls out a few and tosses them into a bowl and sticks it in the microwave for half a minute. "It's all but ready. Go relax, have some champagne while I finish up." It's a nice little domestic scene, if you don't count the fact that they're discussing a recent terrorist attack and a murder. "Actually… can you strain the pasta? I don't think I can do it with one hand."

"Okay." He says to the relaxing bit, pouring champagne in two glasses. But then she's asking him to strain pasta. A somewhat irritated sigh emits from his lips as he turns from the welcoming living room back to the kitchen. "Okaay." He mutters like a child reluctantly agreeing to mowing the lawn before playing with his friends. "Where's the strainer thingie?"

Veronica smacks his bottom and points with her good hand to the cupboard above the sink. She takes the chicken and chops it up into smaller pieces, tossing it into the pesto sauce. "All done, mas o menos," she says with a smile. "You look better," she adds, now that he's out of the dangerous looking black and no longer covered with other people's blood.

Letting out a yelp, he jumps a little bit from the strike before going to remove the strainer. Doing as he's told he smirks a bit at her comment. "You don't like me looking dangerous, dashing, like I'm fresh from the fight?" He's pretty sure that's from a song, but then he loses conviction about it and decides not to say 'that's from a song!' Instead he strains. "You look better too." From when to when, he doesn't say just that she looks better in general. "So. How's Company life again? Did they miss you?"

Once she strains, she used a fork to pull strands of pasta onto the two plates she's set on the counter. "Miss me? It's the Company." She doesn't say that they've been inactive for the past month, but then he knows about the main facility being blown so it's not like a secret. "I have to have a psych eval before I get put on any cases." She makes a face at this, nose crinkling up as she pours the sauce over each plate of pasta, giving each a swirl of the fork to stir. "Voila. And you looked like something the cat dragged in. Other people's blood is not a good look for anyone. Except maybe serial killers."

"I always look awesome." Brian maintains, placing the strainer to the side after it's purpose has been served. "Psych eval. Jesus. It's like you just joined. What are you gonna tell them?" Brian asks as he goes to take the plates and take them to the couch. Setting them down with the glasses of champagne. "And what dickwad do they have you partnered with now?"

"It's because of the explosion and all that," she says, moving to the couch to sit, right shoulder against his left so that her injured won't knock his accidentally. "Everyone has to, but I think I may be a bit higher on the list than most. Because of all that's happened." She picks up her fork and twirls a bit of pasta around it. "Partner's name is Lu. He's a cranky old man. You seen him?" she asks, curiously, knowing he'd been stalking her.

"I don't think so." Brian remarks going to take his first forkful. Once he takes the bite he lets out a satisfied noise. "Good, Vee. Real good." And with that, he continues to shovel more into his face. "What if she asks you about me? What will you say?" He asks, tilting his head at her, with a noodle dangling out of his lips that he quickly slurrrps in.

Vee takes a slower bites. "I don't know. Probably just that I don't know where you went, that I haven't seen you, that I have fond feelings for you as my partner." She shrugs just one shoulder. "Basically going to try to be really vague about everything… elements of truth but evade when I need to." She sighs and looks up at him. "Part of what they might ask, Brian…" she takes a deep breath. "I… we killed Goodman. I was the decoy, gave the signal."

"Tell them you had a major crush on me. But I was never interested." Winters grins as he scoops up some more and shovels it in. A mouthful of noodle and Brian simply stares at Veronica for a moment after this revelation. For a moment he chews, looking away from her. Swallowing he sets down his fork and licks his teeth clean. "Why are you telling me this now?"

Her brown eyes slide down to stare at her plate, setting her fork down. "I … because… he was working with Arthur Petrelli. I didn't want anyone else to know, as long as Petrelli was alive, because it might have been dangerous. It's totally classified in the Company, Brian. Only a few people know. Not even my partner knows. And he told me things… Goodman… that makes them wonder how loyal I am." She swallows hard. "That's why I'm a little worried. I mean, I know I'm sane, that's not the question. But I'm walking around with all these things in my head that would make any person doubt. I don't know what they'll ask. Or how I'll respond."

"Why did you.." Not like it matters. It's done. Goodman's dead. And if Brian had any more questions, he wouldn't be able to ask them. Nor would he be able to ask Petrelli. "He was the only link I had to my parents." Brian responds softly. He looks down for a moment. "What things did Goodman tell you? What is making you so worried?"

"He was working with Petrelli, Brian. Called him his benefactor. He mindwiped Minea when she refused to join him. She's lucky she's not a vegetable after that." She takes a deep breath. "I didn't know he had information about your parents. I didn't know any of that. I was following orders." She shakes her head again. "Don't worry about it. I just… thought I should tell you. Now Petrelli's gone. If you'd known before… and if they knew you were still in contact with anyone in the Company, they might have tried to get the information from you. That's all."

"Yeah. Yeah." Brian excuses, settling his chin in his hands. "There was no way you could have known. I…" A long breath exhales. "Think there's always gonna be secrets with you and me? Or are we going to be able to be honest with each other?"

The agent continues to stare at her food. "I don't know. Right now… knowing all of each other's secrets… it might be dangerous. For both of us." She closes her eyes, brows furrowing. "Is everything going to be like this? Every time we see each other, little pinpricks of guilt for not being what you deserve, Brian?"

"I'm sorry." Brian answers, slinking his arm around her. "I didn't mean to make you feel guilty." He relaxes into his couch. "Thank you for telling me." He goes to set a hand in her lap, letting the palm face upward so that she can take it. "I'll be better."

"I'm sorry about your parents," she whispers. She takes his hand and sighs, leaning into his arm draped around her. Her eyes close and she rests her head on his shoulder, sighing. "I just … I wasn't allowed to tell anyone. You can't tell anyone. If anyone wants revenge, it's me who tricked him, Brian. Played him like he played us."

"Who am I going to tell?" Brian asks blankly, melting onto her basically. "That was good." he says, motioning to his plate, some of the pasta still remaining. "Can I stay here, tonight? I'm tired. And.. I like you." He adds on as an admission. "But no more talking about killing people and dying and parents or revenge…" Breath is drawn. "Let's just go to bed."

Veronica nods, a bit quiet now that her confession is done. She stands, picking up both dishes, wincing a little at the pressure in the left hand but carrying both to the sink anyway. "I'm sure you're exhausted. It's been a long day for you."

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