Question And Answer


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Scene Title Question and Answer
Synopsis Messiah takes measures into their own hands to send a message to those that would target their own…
Date July 14, 2010

The Rookery

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

— George Orwell

A splintered doorframe is the first sign that something is wrong at the 405 Fieldstone Circle. The front door has been broken in, knocked clean off of its hinges. Dropping the backpack in his hand, Ritchie Arnold tips up the brim of his baseball cap and reaches down the back of his loosely belted jeans, withdrawing a chomed Glock from within.

"George?" There's a tightness in the young man's voice as he steps through the threshold, green eyes wide and sweeping around the sparsely furnished foyer, boots crunching on broken glass from a shattered window nearby. Ritchie's breath hitches in the back of his throat as he leans towards the stairwell, peering up it nervously before stepping around the staircase and continuing down the long, narrow hall into the house.

Halfway down the hall there's a clunk, the sounds of someone moving inside of the house still. "Who— ever is still fucking in here you best get your punk ass out, cause I will fuckin' shoot your ass!" Brandishing his gun down the hall, Ritchie can feel his blood pulsing behind his ears, continue to advance ahead with creaking steps from the old, scuffed floorboards. So scuffed in fact, that Ritchie fails to notice the drag marks scoring the wood.

A housefly buzzes past, lands on Ritchie's cheek and is swatted away, as the young man moves towards the first doorway in the hall that leads into the livingroom. Standing beside the door, Ritchie grips his pistol in both hands, takes a few deep breaths and psyches himself up, even as he feels waves of nausea setting over him.

Leaping out into the doorway like he's seen int he movies, Ritchie aims his gun into the living room. There, ties to a folding chair in the middle of the trashed furniture is George, mouth covered with duct-tape, hands behind behind the chair and ankles ties together. Blood runs from an open gash on his right temple and one of his eyes is swollen shut. The noise he makes, vaguely pleading and whimpering is a warning that Ritchie doesn't understand. Because it looks like everyone's left.

"Fuck!" Rushing thorugh the doorway to come to George's aid, Ritchie only gets five steps before he's smacked in the throat by the side of a swiftly moving arm coming out from cover. Knocked clean off of his feet and onto his back, Ricthie slams onto the floor of the living room as his gun skitters away, spinning across the floor before a booted foot comes to stop down on it.

Looming directly over Ritchie, the scowling countenance of Benjamin Washington should be enough to send his adrenaline spiking. But Knox's dark eyes peering down into Ritchie's also comes with a booted foot lifted up and pressed down on the young man's ribcage. Right now, Knox could probably crush the boy flat through the floor, but there's some finesse in the brutally strong man, enough to put just enough pressure that it hurts.

Stricken with fear, Ritchie's eyes track to his gun and the far off boot that clomped down on it. Moving his foot aside, Peter Petrelli leans forward, the ref fabric of his loosely worn scarf slides from one side of his shoulder, touching the floor as he bends over to pick up the gun, turn it over in his hands before clicking on the safety and tossing it to yet another person that Ritchie failed to notice in the room.

Larson Riggs catches the gun in mid-flight, sweeping it behind his back to tuck into belted jeans. "Hey kid, ain't fun when it's you is it?" Larson's dark eyes narrow, his jaw tilts up and lips downturn into a frown. "I hear you like fuckin' with drunk girls, like beatin' up people who can't fed for themselves. You wanna' make it three for three an' call me a nigger too? 'Cause man, just give me a fuckin' reason."

Knox glances up at Riggs when the Jamaican talks, then turns his attention back down to the boy he's pinning to the floor. Lifting his booted foot off of him, Knox grabs Ritchie by the scruff of his t-shirt and yanks him to his feet, then hurls him bodily across the room while George wrenches his eyes shut and chokes out terrified sobs behind the duct-tape bindings of his gag.

Ritchie hits the wall with his back, denting in the drywall with a crack before falling down onto his side, choking and coughing and trying to plead without breath. Lifting up a hand, Peter calls off Knox and treads over to where Ritchie'd fallen down onto the floor, crouching down beside him and resting his forearms over his knees. Dark brows furrow, brown eyes stare down at Ritchie, and Peter's voice remains hushed.

"I need you to listen to me, because if you don't you and your friend are going to die. As much as it might make me feel better to watch you both get twisted into a pretzel by Knox, I'm not a killer." Reaching out to continue putting on the proper show, Peter curls his fingers into Ritchie's hair and yanks back his head, leaning in close so that he needn't speak loud enough for Knox or Riggs to overhead.

"You hurt a friend of mine, and you're a bigoted piece of shit, but that doesn't mean you need to die. You'e young, and young people make mistakes, and some part of me deep down inside wants to think that maybe— just maybe— if I give you a chance to turn your shit around, you won't continue making a fucking mess of your life. Because that's what he would've wanted." Peter's other hand comes up, curling a hand around Ritchie's jaw and squeezing fingers into his cheeks. "Do. You. Understand?"

As carefully enunciated as Peter's question is, Ritchie nods his head repeatedly, breathing in pained breaths as his wide eyes stare vacantly up at Peter's. "Your buddy George won't tell us who you work for, because I know you work for someone. That's how Humanis First works. You do the bullshit jobs, the spray painting and window smashing, and you answer to someone bigger and meaner and scarier who does worse things. That's how cell structures are."

Squinting at Ritchie, Peter's upper lip curls slightly. "Are they scarier than me?"

Rapidly shaking his head from side to side, Ritchie's eyes well with tears and his throat clamps down tightly as he tries to swallow, never once looking away from Peter's eyes, transfixed like a deer in headlights. "Good," Peter breathily responds, "now… who do you work for, and where can we find him. You tell us, and we leave here with you alive. You fuck around like George did, and I let them both do whatever they want." With that warning, Peter looks back over his shoulder to Knox, then to Riggs, then back to Ritchie whose stare had followed Peter's to the other two men.

"Now I'm going to let you go, and you're going to tell me what I want to know. One chance, just one. If anything— anything else comes out of your mouth, deal's off. Do we have an understanding?" Both of Peter's dark brows lift as he asks that of Ritchie, only to have the young man whimper noisily against Peter's palm and nod weakly.

Satisfied with that, Peter lets go of the young man's hand and pulls his hand away from his mouth, leaving Ritchie gasping for breath as he hunches forward. Peter, however, slowly pushes himself up to stand, wiping his hands off on the sides of his green cargo pants as he takes a few steps backwards and away from Ritchie's prone form.

"Wally," Ritchie chokes out, tears streaming down his face in thick rolling lines. "H— His name's Wally. He— he's got a place— far side of the Rookery, the old High School! I swear to God that's all I know I swear to God!" Pushing his back up against the wall, Ritchie's jaw trembles as he stares up at Peter, hands trembling and more tears welling up in his lashes. "Please I swear to God we're not supposed to go there, we're not I don't know…"

Looking over his shoulder to Knox, Peter furrows his brows. "I know the place," Knox admits with a bob of his head, "Curtis High School, been a drug den for a while. Far as I remember it was a meth lab before I went into Moab t'get in touch with Dean." Peter's head bobs into a repeated nod as he listens to Knox, attention turning back on Ritchie.

"You have any idea how many guys are up there?" One dark brow lifts as Peter asks that question, and all Ritchie can do is shake his head repeatedly to the tune of no. Huffing out a sigh, Peter rests his hands on his hips as he looks around the apartment, over to George's beaten face and then back down to Ritchie.

"If I so much as hear you giving shit to anyone, Evolved or not— If I find out you got back into this bigot Humanis First bullshit again? It won't be me you have t'worry about. That goes for both of you," Peter turns to look over his shoulder at the boy tied to the chair. "Because next time I won't be here to hold these two back, and next time I will let them kill you both and string you up as a message."

Turning his back to Ritchie, Peter starts walking ahead, passing by George and making his way to the doorway of the house the two punks have been squatting in. "Get the fuck off this island," Peter warns with a look over his shoulder to the two young men as Knox and Riggs start making their way towards the same door. "This is our island now, and it doesn't have a place for you."

Slipping out of the living room, Peter disappears down the hall and out of sight, while Knox offers a look to Riggs with a furrow of his brows. It's evident that he's judgmental of Peter's choice to leave both of the young men alive, but seems to be willing to let it slide in favor of a bigger, more visible message being sent at the school. When Knox leaves, Riggs is the last one behind, and his dark eyes sweep across both of the young men with a crease of his brows.

"Be seein' you, boys…" Riggs warns with a broad, bright smile, before ducking out of the apartment as well. It's not an idle threat either, because for as revelatory as the interrogation here was, it wasn't the point. You scare a mouse enough, and it will run back to its hole. Even as Peter and the others leave a literal fly on the wall, buzzing around George's swollen cheek, is getting ready to follow the mice back to their nest.

Then there'll be an extermination.

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