Secret Guest


sf_asami2_icon.gif sf_kaylee_icon.gif sf_jac_icon.gif

Scene Title Secret Guest
Synopsis Asami mostly sticks her superhero landing when she returns to the Petrelli mansion, but attracts attention in doing so.
Date January 15, 2021

Petrelli Mansion, Upper East Side Manhattan

It was a cold day, and it's even colder at night.

Asami is shivering by the time she finds the right street— harder to do from above than she would have thought. Her arms are drawn tightly around herself as she floats like a shaking leaf on the wind. The cars on the street are studied, looking for any with lights on the top of them, and only then does she reluctantly accept maybe it's safe now.

She can see lights on in the Petrelli mansion, casting a glow onto the stone of the patio in the garden behind the residence. When she descends— a trick she's not particularly good at— it's done while clipping the hard-to-see branches of one of the trees in the greenspace. With a hiss, Asami course-corrects, but the sound of cracking twigs drags down with her. She lands on the stone with a scuff of feet, hand coming to the ground to keep herself from falling down into it uncontrolled even if she landed at more oddly an angle than intended.

Eyes closing, she shudders out a breath. Okay. She made it back. Now to just…

Asami looks up to the wide back door to the garden, the one that provides a return review into the kitchen through its glass, and freezes, save for the cloud of breath that hovers before her. Shit.

Jac's in the kitchen.

And she's looking directly at Asami.

While her fencing instructor was descending into the back garden, Jac Petrelli was in the process of clearing away the evidence of a late evening/pre-midnight snack. All of the fixing necessary for an epic turkey sandwich — of which sits waiting on a plate — have been closed and gathered for a one-shot deposit back into the fridge, the loaf of bread in its plastic wrapper is in hand waiting to be twist tied closed. But the flutter of movement outside put a pause on all of that and now…

Now Jac's hands have stilled and her bright blue eyes are staring back at Asami's dark brown ones.

The teen's hands slacken, the bread drops onto the counter with a flump. The sound is wimpy, but it moves her beyond the initial shock of the incomprehensible impossibility she just witnessed. With eyes widening out of fear and awe, the Petrelli girl shoots a look over her shoulder to check the doorway to the formal living room. Meanwhile her feet hustle toward the patio door, with the intent of sneaking it open for the woman in the garden.

It's with an exhaled cloud of relief that Asami's shoulders start to droop. She moves quickly and quietly for the patio door herself, one Jac will realize was already unlocked for some reason. The woman on the other side is grateful in either case that the reaction to seeing her was to open the door rather than lock it.

She lifts a hand to place a finger to her lips, silently asking for discretion. It's only then she softly, hesitantly asks, "How… much did you see just now?"

Jac tries unlocking the door, hand working the latch for a good couple of seconds before her eyes drop to examine the mechanism. Her brow knits faintly, finding it unlocked, but time for wondering over that will have to come later. The door is opened just wide enough for Asami to slip through, while the teenager casts another look into the depths of the house.

“I don't think you jumped out of a tree,” she whispers, turning back to the woman. It's plain that she wants to know all about what she might have seen, but also that she's not planning to ask in the middle of the kitchen. “I think everyone else is in bed.” A slight upward shift to her hushed statement implies the question: what are you doing here?

Asami winces guiltily over realizing just how late it's gotten. It's an action folded into a greater shiver as warmth kisses her skin for the first time in literal hours, shoulders hunched and hands folding into each other before rubbing together to try and help warm them. Her lips press together as she wonders how to even begin explaining.

"Your mother told me there is a room at the back of the cellar. A panic room, hidden behind the furthest wine rack." She keeps her voice as low as Jac is keeping hers, unable to smile even in an attempt to reassure the young girl that she is in fact all right. "I'm… sure you've seen the news."

"It's not true," she stresses, soft but sharp, the end of it shrouded in a shudder from the cold. "None of it is."

Confusion touches the teen's face. She hasn't seen the news, and what would that have to do with the panic room? Quietly sliding the door closed, she flips the latch to lock it. But the question hangs, unspoken, cast in a silent look to Asami.

Stepping away from the door, Jac takes Asami by the hand. “It's this way,” she says, leading her teacher from the patio and wide windows. Passing the island, she grabs the plate with the sandwich. “But I don't understand. What's going on?”

Lead unexpectedly by the hand, Asami lets out a strangled, faint protest. She can find her way just fine, of course. But neither does she shirk the 'hospitality' shown to her. A stab works its way down her when Jac says she doesn't know, one she has to grab the knife of before it gets worse.

So she does finally pull her hand back to herself as they head down into the cellar, leveling a solemn look at her student. "The US government is accusing me of treason, Jac. They've said I stole this country's secrets, sold them, and fired on agents who came to arrest me. That's not true. None of that is."

"What they want is…" Asami looks back over her shoulder before to Jac again, like she's summoning the image of her landing in the patio back to the front of mind again. "To stop people from learning I can do what you saw me do."

It's not a pleasant or easy thing to wrap one's head around, bringing her to look away rather than wait to see if Jac adapts or shows confusion. She heads for the back of the cellar, looking for the prescribed rack of wine she'll need to shift.

“That's just… how could…” Anger throttles the words meant to be spoken in her teacher’s defense. If Jac has thought Asami’s superhero landing in the back gardens was incomprehensible, the accusations made against the woman are on a whole other level. “I believe you.” How could she not? Asami might be strict sometimes, but never seemed like she would turn on the government. Her brow furrows at the notion. There's no way Asami could have done anything like that. Treason is reserved for old guys with greasy gray hair and bad suits.

Seeing Asami begin searching for the rack that hides the entrance drags the girl from those thoughts. She steps forward to lead the way again. Showing the familiarity of growing up in the mansion, likely with a plethora of moments where she was hiding in the cellar herself and playing at daring games of who can stand the darkness the longest, she crosses to the appropriate rack and pushes it aside. A look is sent to her teacher to make sure the rack is noted.

Asami nods once, grateful for this last bit of guidance. Before she goes for the door, she takes a moment to look back over her shoulder for the stairs, like she's reflecting on her whole day.

Her back hits the corner of another rack, and she slowly slides down into a sit, more vulnerable and more uncertain-looking than she's ever dared show of herself in front of the teenager. But she needs this moment now before she holes up, she needs to have these thoughts out here instead of being locked away with them.

She takes in a sharp breath, holds it, then slowly exhales it away through her mouth.

"I didn't wake up like this this morning. This isn't something I've been hiding. I didn't know I could fly until they were already chasing me, until I was falling."

To her death, she thought. She'd only became weightless when she embraced that thought, when she found peace within herself, the thought of letting go.

Asami's eyes flicker shut, her head leaning back with a thunk against the wooden frame. "I don't know what else I can do. But it's apparently more than just that. This all is so crazy, though. I just…" Her eyes open toward the ceiling and she swallows hard, praying for strength to get through these revelations with more grace. "I still can't believe all of this."

Jac takes a couple of steps to close the space between herself and Asami, turns and sinks onto the floor beside her teacher. As she sits, she folds her arms around her knees and stares into some undefined distance in front of her.

“I believe you,” she says again, with a quiet conviction. Three times the extraordinary has happened, and twice in one day. There could be more that she doesn't know about. “There's something… crazy happening.”

She doesn't know how to even explain, but hopes that, with Asami’s predicament, that the fencing instructor will be willing to listen. After all, the weight of secrets should be shared, and neither she nor Asami is in this alone anymore. The teen regards her own with a vaguely uneasy look, before lifting her eyes to the woman beside her.

“At school, a couple months ago, no one could see or hear me.” Jac had thought it was a prank, but the lack of levity in her tone implies it wasn't so simply explained. “And today… today I saw someone get stretched like taffy and then vanish.”

Slowly, like she's not sure she's really heard what's been said, Asami lets her eyes lower from the ceiling. She tries to grapple with what Jac says she's witnessed; struggles— for just a moment— with doing so. "What?" she asks blankly, turning her head to look at the younger girl.


She takes in a short breath, tries to measure her words a bit better than what she would have said otherwise. "Jac, any other time I would tell you you only felt invisible because children are assholes who liked to play cruel jokes, but given what I've been through…" And apparently what Jac saw earlier. Her brow begins to knit together. "What happened earlier today?"

“You didn’t tell me about what happened today, Jac,” comes a quiet and mildly accusing voice from the direction of the cellar stairs. Kaylee stands at the base of the stairs for a moment, looking all the world worried for her youngest.

Since Asami left, Kaylee had gotten far more comfortable in an oversized shirt that looks like it was made for a man and grey leggings. Her ponytail swings as she looks between both and moves closer. Asami gets a relieved look. “I’m glad you made it okay. I gave staff the next couple days off, so feel free to go upstairs and get what you need, just… don’t go outside.” There were cameras after all.. Not to mention nosy neighbors, no doubt. “And Gillian confirmed for tomorrow morning.”

Kaylee only offers Jac a mild apology in her glance for keeping her in the dark.

“When I missed those two days,” Jac begins to explain of being invisible first. She almost never misses one day of fencing, let alone two in a row. But her mom’s voice at the stairs, with its accusing tones — well, she had come home in a rush and refused to talk about it then. Now she's had time to regroup, and with Asami having something crazy happen, plus Kaylee already knows about the other weird day…

“I cut through Prospect Park when I was on my way home from that art gallery.” The one where the teen is trying to get some of her work displayed. “I met up with Brynn and then we ran into Nova, the cellist from Julliard, right outside the Picnic House. And someone else was there. The lady who… I remember seeing her talk to Nova after those guys stole her cello.” On the day of the race.

“Nova saw something… someone who looked like herself but with dark hair.” Jac looks from her mom to Asami as she speaks. “She said the person burned to ash. The lady from the race went to look, but when she got close to the Picnic House she stretched and twisted and vanished. We all saw it happen.”

Asami's head snaps back in the direction of the stairs at the sound of Kaylee's voice. No matter how familiar it is, it startled her. She seizes for a moment before sighing in relief that they're still all in good company.

She looks back to Jac to hear the rest of her story. Even with an open mind, she finds her expression turning doubtful trying to envision all of this in her head. "This happened in the middle of the park?" She blinks once, then looks to Kaylee, and finally past her.

Even as her youngest speaks, there is a soft giggle of a child behind Kaylee that no one else can hear. It and the situation being described sends a chill through her. It has her wrapping her arms around herself and her eyes drop away to a point elsewhere.

“Seeing things?” Kaylee asks quietly, sounding almost haunted. She looks up again, her blue gaze finds Asami’s, “I… I’ve been seeing and hearing a little boy. I feel like I know him and… and I know he’s mine.” Her gaze flicks over to Jac.

“Which is crazy. Nathan and I never had a…” Kaylee’s voice hitches and she gives a frustrated shake of her head. “I had the doctors run tests, so many tests, everything. But they found nothing wrong with me.” Her attention falls on Asami. “They gave me anti-psychotics, but…”

Kaylee looks to a point near her, a blue eyed boy standing there with a bright smile and a lollipop. He’s there only for her. “But he’s still here,” she whispers the words gruffly, tears making her blink her eyes. Tears of relief from finally being able to tell someone and not being alone in her torture.

“There was someone jogging who saw us.” Not anyone Jac recognized. “It was really… I didn't see anything there, no girl like Nova turning to ash. Brynn didn't either. Or the lady… what was her name.” In the horror of the moment, everything else became secondary, and the name of the lawyer slipped away, although she's trying now to remember. “I think she saw something just before she vanished. But the jogger…”

Jac lets her experiences trail off when her mom starts speaking. Her brows knit, and she even looks through the dim light to see this phantom child. Of course, like with Nova, there's nothing there that she can see or hear.

That realization strikes the still warm embers of panic that sent her running hours ago. What if she or Asami suddenly stretched and vanished? The teen looks up at her teacher, worry plain on her face.

The world's a lot weirder than you ever realized, Violette had warned Asami. All it took was one strange event to begin peeling back how odd things were for everyone else, too. The Japanese woman's brow begins to knit as she absorbs all of this in, her knees tenting before her and her forearms resting against them.

"There's something weird happening in the city," Asami posits, slow and unnerved. "Whatever was keeping me from being able to do what I can do failed. V.iris called it negation. I thought maybe it was personal, that I did something that broke out of whatever routine that allowed them to suppress this…" Her face scrunches momentarily from how strange this still is to say. "—Superpower that I have. But maybe whatever happened didn't impact just me. Maybe it…"

But she's grasping for straws. The most she can do is shift her arm, laying a hand against Jac's shoulder comfortingly before looking back up to Kaylee. "Whatever's happening to you, it sounds terrifying, but if others are having the same happen to them… you're not crazy, Kaylee. Maybe— maybe this is all connected somehow."

Asami rolls her lower lip, biting on it for a moment. She's in no position to suggest anything, being a fugitive, but here she goes anyway. "We should find Nova. See if she's been seeing anything else— if this was a one-time issue or…" She begins to trail off, brow twitching as the memory comes back to her. She takes in a sudden breath before offering up, "I saw someone, too, come to think of it. Just before Halloween. I was taking the train home when… suddenly a girl appeared in the seat across from me. She asked me, 'Where is the host?' and then the lights flickered and she vanished."

She'd nearly forgotten.

"She… was young. But she was like a mirror to me almost. What I was wearing, she was wearing, but different. She had on headphones like I did that night. But she was young, maybe … twelve? In this red hoodie and black jeans." Slowly, Asami shakes her head with more insistence. "Kaylee, you're not alone."

Whatever Asami says finally pulls Kaylee’s attention from the boy to her friend. “So… so what am I seeing? Dead people?” She says not believing that what is happening to her is anything near as wonderful as the woman’s ability to fly or related to it. “I dunno… it feels more like torture.”

Brushing the palms of a hand against her eyes, Kaylee sniffs and looks at her daughter. Her expression turns to guilt as her arm falls back to curl around herself. “But, whatever we do, we need to be careful,” she says softly and mostly to her youngest. “I didn’t want you pulled into this, Jac. Plausible deniability is what I want for you and your sister in case it gets out that Asami is here.”

They would probably all get arrested for harboring a wanted fugitive.

Kaylee looks at Asami with worry, “We bring in the wrong person…” she lets that hang in the air. “Maybe….” She looks at Jac again, this time thoughtfully. “Maybe you can talk to her first? See if she’s the type to tell?”

Of course, Kaylee can’t keep Asami there, but she can try to protect the woman. “Just worried about your exposure… I mean… Big Brother is always watching.” That last huffed out with bland amusement but also with all her worry.

“Plausible deniability isn't going to keep me out safe,” Jac argues, incredulous. “The whole city knows Asami teaches fencing and that I’m one of her students. Mom, you know the government as well as I do, they're going to find what they want to find and plausible deniability isn't going to save me if they don't want it to.” Brynn, on the other hand, she figures is probably safer, questionable but without the connection to pin her to the fencing instructor.

As for the suggestion that she feel out where Nova stands, the teen shakes her head. “No way. We… we all kind of panicked. She called 9-1-1…” And Jac did nothing to stop her. She did the only thing she could think of doing and ran. “I hope she just forgets or… decides it was just weird lighting?”

"Why?" Asami challenges with the beginnings of a frown. "Why do you hope she forgets?"

She takes in an arrest of short breath before holding up her hands as in a gesture to bear with her for a moment. "Hear me out: We talk with Gillian in the morning— see if she's able to help at all. Violette seemed to think she was trustworthy, even though she's a cop, so we see why."

"But if there's other people out there having this strange stuff happen to them, why shouldn't we find them, too?" It takes her a moment to put her finger on it, but Asami looks back up with a little more urgency than before. "If not to connect with other people facing what we are, then to warn them what could happen to them if they fall out of line like I somehow did?"

Worry creases Kaylee’s brows when Asami talks about finding others like them. This doesn’t seem like a good idea to her. Each person they bring in is another that could expose her and bring the government down on them.

“She’ll listen,” Kaylee says, choosing to focus on Gillian. “Violette means something to her and I… It’s truthfully, part of why I let you stay.” Knees crack as she crouches near them and leans against the side of a rack of wines. “You remember what happened to my husband and brother-in-law?” The question leveled at Asami… Jac has heard this story. Not to mention it wasn’t a secret.

“What people don’t know is that Gillian recently received a photograph of the moment before Peter and Nathan went off the edge. On the back was a message and a name,” Kaylee motions to Asami, “Violette. For that reason alone she’ll listen to what you have to say.”

Jac shakes her head, unable to put to words exactly why she’s reluctant to talk to Nova again. The afternoon left her spooked, seeing Justice one minute and the next the lawyer was just gone. And the jogger that saw all four of them together — she had to have seen them, she looked right at Jac and the other three — then saying Justice was never there. Her head lowers slightly, ashamed that she can’t explain why and that she doesn’t want to talk to Nova or Brynn.

The teen stands, as her mom brings up her dad and uncle. The plate sandwich she’d made, that somehow found a perch on a wine rack when she first sat down, is picked up and passed to Asami.

Still feeling bad for her feelings on the matter, Jac takes a step away. Her head lifts toward the stairs back into the house, and a hand catches on a rack. “I think… we can’t just go bringing everyone in just… without being careful.” Her head shakes as soon as she says it, to fend off any arguments or insistence that they’re not going to do anything hasty. “I mean… I think Asami’s right but… but…” She gestures at her mom and then Asami, hands waving in the air like they should just know what she’s trying to say. “She’s flying, you’re seeing a kid that isn’t there, Nova and Brynn and I saw a woman just disappear and the only other person in the park only saw us three… and I turned invisible. This is just…” Insane!

It's clear Asami wants to say more, but she quiets and accepts the plate. It's not just her safety she could jeopardize, but the entire Petrelli family's at this point. Their caution isn't unwarranted in the slightest.

"Tomorrow's a new day," she offers up gently before beginning to come to her feet. "Maybe it'll bring with it new answers. Nothing's happening tonight anyway." God willing, anyway. "I'm… Going to get comfortable for the night," she suggests with a gesture back at the hidden room. "And I'll see you in the morning."

That's all they could do for now. Take things one careful step at a time.

“One step at a time,” Kaylee offers to the others, her voice filled with quiet concern. “We’re in new territory at this point and flying blind,” she admits, giving voice to her own uncertainty. It was times like this she wished she had Nathan around. She hasn’t had a solid rock since his death and right now… she could really use one.

Looking at the room past Asami, Kaylee gives a small lopsided smile. “You relax, I’ll bring you a warmer blanket. Need anything else while I’m at it?” She asks with a tip of her brow.

Jac turns slightly, watching Asami retreat into the panic room. For a moment, she almost moves after her instructor. People say there’s strength in numbers, and that’s what’s needed right now. But the guilt about her reluctance to do more weighs heavily and holds her in place. Apology writes itself in her expression, and a silent promise that, if everything works out with Gillian, she’ll go to Nova next.

Humbled, grateful, still a little overwhelmed and more tired than anything else, Asami manages a smile before looking back at the strongroom. "I'm okay for now. Really. Thank you again. I'll…"

She nods reassurance to Jac, looking to Kaylee after. "I'll not take this for granted," she promises. There's a fullness to her voice, one that makes her turn away a little more quickly than she would have otherwise as she lets herself into the panic room, flips on the lights. The plate Asami has is set aside on the cot within the room as she takes a few moments to herself, waiting for Kaylee's return with the blanket.

She manages, mostly, to hold off on tears until after she's alone again.

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