Pull The Strings


elle_icon.gif peter2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pull the Strings
Synopsis Elle catches Peter in his office, and can sense something is wrong, but it's too late to change the future now. he knows what has to happen, and what it could mean. Elle, on the other hand, isn't so sure it's certain.
Date December 6, 2008

Primatech Research: Level 1, Agent Petrelli's Office

Still early in the morning as it is, many people are no doubt still rolling around in their beds right now. That, or milling about in an equally slow, sleepy preparation for the rest of today - Saturday. The start of the weekend. Rest.

But this is Primatech. Slow and sleepy is not how it works here. Elle Bishop has already been up for an hour or two, and her more-or-less bright demeanor reflects it. Her ponytail sways from side to side as she rounds the corner towards Peter's office, the shushing of fuzzy slippers sounding against the floor instead of the harder click of heels. Aside from the shoes, though, she is fully dressed; a cream-colored blouse that matches the slippers, jeans. She pauses right by the doorframe, eyes flicking briefly upwards as though she's thinking. Then she thoughtfully raps on the door to Peter's office with the knuckles of one free hand, and steps back to wait.

The door swings slightly ajar when Elle knocks on it, Peter must not have closed it completely. When the door opens, it reveals Peter sitting at his desk with his head in his hands, fingers curled into his hair. Scattered across his desk are a variety of orange perscription painkiller bottles, and a few bottles of over the counter asprins. He had to have heard the knock, his eyes are open, staring vacantly at his desk. After a few moments of silence, those eyes close and Peter mumbles, "Come on in…"

It is if those words commit him to slip out of his thoughts, hands coming down to begin clearing away the bottles. When Elle catches sight of Peter's face, no longer obscured by his hands, he looks like the walking dead. His eyes are sunken in and reddened around the edges, eyes themselves bloodshot. His skin is pale and sickly looking, and a few beads of sweat cling to his brow. He looks as though he has a fever, or perhaps worse. Finally his dark eyes come to settle on Elle, and the hint of a smile creeps up across his lips. "Hey… It's good to see you." Good? Obviously her memo to Sabra hasn't had any serious implications yet.

Obviously not. That is the first fact that Elle notes, but her manner remains carefree. "Breakfast line's getting long," she notes as her gaze just begins to rove up and down Peter's /horrible/ appearance, or perhaps because of it. The toes of her slippers edge into Peter's doorway, and pause. "You'll have to hurry if you want to — /geez/, Pete. I thought you were sleeping now." But he looks worse than ever.

Peter's eye sflicker over Elle for a moment, then down to the pill bottles as they're scraped with a rattling noise across his desk and noisily into a drawer. "I am sleeping," He mumbles, brows furrowing together as he takes one hand and wipes it across his mouth, sighing into it as he does. There's a bit of a strained look as he hears Elle go on about the breakfast line, as if that's the last thing on his mind. His head hangs slightly, fingers sprading to rest against his brow and keep it up, his elbow propped on his desk. "I — Was there something you needed, Elle?"

Actually, there are many things Elle needs, or at least /wants/ from this conversation; all of these flicker through her head as she watches Peter through the curve of her eyes. "Can I come in?" Her eyebrows quirk upwards a little, and her slender fingers steal forward to creep up on the doorframe. It's just a pure question; no intent hidden behind its simplicity. "C'mon. You're not telling the truth."

One hand rises to wave Elle in, a silent aquiescing to her question. "I have been sleeping, I just — " Peter frowns, eyes closing again as he leans back in his chair, letting both of his hands move up to bring fingers though his hair as he reclines in the seat. "I'm sort've sick, it's complicated…" He reconsiders that, "Not like — It's nothing dangerous." With all the talk of world-destroying viruses and infected Evolved, he might've given off the wrong impression. "I'm just — It's a long story." He lets his gaze settle on Elle again, one brow raising, as if to wordlessly ask what's on your mind?

In Elle goes, then, though she chooses to go and stroll behind the head of Peter's chair rather than looking for a spot to sit. "A sick agent isn't any good to anyone." Her voice floats reprovingly downwards, over Peter's shoulders. The answer is still evasive. What does she want? If he searches her mind via telepathy, he'll find it annoying blank, though there are definitely more…interesting thoughts scratching just a little further down. "Something's been on your mind. Are you still worried about that dream you had?"

Peter watches her circle around behind his chair, but his gaze only follows her part of the way, it's too uncomfortable to crane his stiff neck around any further. His eyes then choose to linger at a spot on his desk, unfiled reports on the Rage-Dementia case. "That," he agrees with Elle, "and a half-dozen other things. There's… Things going on, Elle, things I can't tell you about." Peter rubs tiredly at one of his eyes, shoulders slouching some, but the tension in his neck remains. "It's… It'll be better if you don't know." He pauses, considering his words with some caution, "You've got more than enough to worry about on your own." She still hasn't answered his question… or has she?

Elle's response to this a blink, against her will, and a very small puff of an exhalation that sounds a little hurt. "Pete." Once she has circled around to that spot where Peter's eyes are lingering, she remarks earnestly, looking at him straight in the eyes even if he doesn't look back — "Have you told anyone else about that dream? You didn't, did you?"

Dark eyes lift up to peer at Elle, looking more frustrated now than before as she touches on a more difficult topic. "I told Sabra." But he doesn't mention how he told Helena, or gave her confidential Homeland Security information. That, right there, would make a bad day worse. "She…" His eyes close and his head turns away from Elle, "She had an opinion on it, not mine, but it was something." The agent's eyes remain closed, and his tired expression matches his tired voice, "We didn't disagree, but we didn't agree on what to do either." They don't open as he asks indirectly, "Why?"

Well, the lame answer to that would be 'because Elle wants to know.' She tentatively lifts a hand, coolly tracing one forefinger down the ridge of Peter's shoulder if he doesn't flinch away from the touch. "Me and Sabra." It's not even a direct answer to the question. "You only told me and Sabra. No, I don't care about what she told you — that's between /you/ two."

There is a gentler pause; a franker one. "If there's something else going on right now, Peter, you don't have to be afraid to tell me about it." After all, that was what he did last time.

"I'm not going to lie to you." Peter says tiredly, "But I will avoid the truth." Spoken like a true agent of the Company. His lips curl up into a hesitant smile at the touch to his shoulder, he doesn't want to smile, but the contact is welcomed, and in some ways missed. "It — Honestly, it's confidential. It's a case Agents Sanders and Wickham are on." His eyes open slowly, but he's just staring off into space. Since when has company protocol mattered so much to him? "If Sabra wanted you to know, she'd tell you." He's being exceptionally evasive, more so than usual. After a moment, he turns and leans away from the touch to his shoulder, despite what much of his mind is telling him.

Since when /has/ Company protocol mattered so much to Petrelli? "So whatever happened to we're not like the rest of them'?" There is no smile on Elle's face, though her tone is teasing even with this lack of any greater push. Her lips press together, and impulsively, her hand lifts to finger a lock of Peter's hair at the base of his neck when he leans away from the shoulder-invasion. She seems to be paying little attention to what her hands are doing; her eyes are still locked on his face. "Sanders? She has enough issues of her own. I can't believe they'd assign a /rookie/ to something as important as this looks like." Now she /does/ sound scornful, her voice becoming perceptibly more iron-edged.

Peter shrugs his shoulders slightly, "Think about what you just said," his eyes track up to her, level and firm. "Then think about what I told you I felt about Sabra." His eyes narrow slightly, "Do you really think it's a coincidence they put a rookie on the case?" Something Peter isn't telling Elle is preventing her to put the pieces together. But as he raises one dark brow, some words said start to make the picutre come together more clearly. "I think it's better for me, in the long run, if the Company stays out of this. Less people to get hurt." He thinks he's being selfless, but in truth he's just being an ass, even if he doesn't mean to. "I still don't think you and me are like the rest of the people here… but…" He leans forward and folds his arms on his desk, resting his head down on them. "That doesn't mean I'm going to leave." Something changed his mind, it seems.

"You think they put her on the case /to/ make sure nobody ever solved it? Peter, think about what /you're/ saying." The prying hand slows to a stop, though it withdraws only a fraction of an inch. "Sabra must know you- or think she knows you /really/ well for her to pull something like that. For anybody to."

Pressing her lips together again, she contorts her knuckles and lets a jagged, startlingly sudden mini-bolt ~zpppt~ towards the back of Peter's neck. It's a practiced, focused movement, and when it's over, she's still looking at him with that same close expression. "What are you going to do here, if you're not going to leave /and/ don't want the Company involved?" It seems like a logical question.

"Maybe?" He sounds tired, and uncertain of himself. Peter slouches a bit, but jumps at the zap to the back of his neck, jerking his head to the side to look up at Elle at first with frustration, then with a faint smile as he rests his head back down on his arms. "I don't know." It's th ebest answer he can give, "It'll be over soon, after tonight. But… there's a lot of ways things can go. There's…" Peter closes his eyes, exhaling a slow sigh before sitting up straight and sliding a piece of paper across th desk to Elle.

"I need to ask you a favor." He's needed to ask her a lot of those lately, "This assignment I'm working on, with Lee and Grant?" He nods to the paperwork, "If something happens to me, I need you to make sure it doesn't fall through the cracks." There's an unnerving seriousness to Peter's tone of voice. "I — Just make sure someone gets assigned to it, someone who's going to look, and dig…"

"… /If/ something happens to you." The repetition is an incredulous one. What is going on? Elle has no idea. Her eyes fall towards that paperwork, and she extends a palm to rest on top of a corner of the pile. But she doesn't draw it towards her. Not yet. "Yeah, I can ask Sabs to let me have the assignment — it's not like my /own/ is going that well anyway. Just…tell me what this is all about. At least what might /happen/ to you, if nothing else." It isn't as though she's gotten any more than that anyway.

Peter's eyes drift up to the clock on the wall, then down to Elle, "By tomorrow, I might be dead." His tone speaks in all seriousness, no joking or sarcasm there. "But it's my problem, and I'll handle it on my own. I — " Helena's words come back to him, live together, die alone. He closes his eyes, grimacing, and looks away from the blonde agent. "I'm not going to put you at risk," His brows knit together frustratedly, "Please, don't ask me to."

When he looks back to Elle, he reaches out to lay a hand atop hers, smiling weakly. "All I ever wanted to do when I joined the Company, was make up for all of the mistake I'd made, to save you, and… I just wanted to make a difference." There's a bitterness to Peter's words, "Give me this."

At all that, Elle finally shows signs of relenting. Mostly, however, because at this point it's become obvious to her that she can't wheedle any more information out of him. She does not allow Peter's hand to remain on top of hers, but maneuvers it back out again in contrariness. "You just always have to go and play hero, don't you, Peter?" She observes in an outward breath too gradual to be a sigh. "I might not have a clue what's going on, but if you keep at it, then you /will/ get killed. And then there won't be anyone around to save /you/." It's still all said relatively quietly, though that matter-of-fact edge in her tone doesn't go away.

Then she lends him one final smile, this one also acquiescing - but in a different way then before. Her slim shoulders draw themselves back. "I better get going. I expect to see you around tomorrow." Her blue eyes pierce into his, then. She'd /better/.

Unfinished Scene

December 6th: Pull The Trigger

Previously in this storyline…
Pull The Trigger

Next in this storyline…
In Somnis Veritas

December 6th: A Funny Way To Show Concern
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