The Chain



Also Featuring:

cameron_icon.gif f_gillian_icon.gif f_helena_icon.gif f_teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Chain
Synopsis Helena discovers that the identity of her greatest enemy, is none other than herself.
Date December 8, 2009

"Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise…"

It is a hard sound to describe, the ear-ringing deafening that comes from close proximity to a powerful explosion.

"Run in the shadows"

Smoke winds up through the air like dark fingers grasping up at a clear sky. The orange glow of flames ripples and shifts nearby, belching up choking black smoke from the twisted metal wreckage of the toppled bus. Glass is strewn across the street, concrete dappled with blood and ash, scraps of clothing, pieces of twisted metal charred black. People lay in discarded heaps blown back from the blast, some moving, writhing, most motionless.

"Damn your love, damn your lies"

The screams are hard to hear, a dull roar behind the high-pitched whining in her ears, but laid out on the concrete as she is, the feeling of intense pain and dull headache seem to blend together like mixed paint. Her stomach hurts, sharp pain and warmth all in the same, and when she moves she feels pinned — unable to rise from where she'd been blown back.

"And if you don't love me now, you will never love me again"

People are running in from the crowd, voices joined together in horrified union. As she looks down, blurry eyes focus on the piece of twisted metal, blood-encrusted rebar driven through her stomach, pinning her to the ground like a skewered animal. The flames are so close, it should be hot, but all she can feel is the growing cold, and the weight of that ring on her hand.

"I can still hear you saying"

Fire reflects off of diamond in a thousand points of light.

"you would never break the chain"

Reality comes to like a clap of thunder at the sound of the music booming over the theater speakers in the entertainment room. Daylight spills through the windows, burning away the shadows of a dream of another day, a dream of another time and place that never will be. The blanket laid across Helena slides off of her legs and down onto the floor, the skies outside a slate gray and a chill coming in through the windows of Cat's apartment. It's been quiet here, quiet ever since Cat left.

"You will never love me again"

The radio kicked on from an alarm, something Cat's always had set, something that Helena's not really sure how to turn off. There's seventeen remote controls in this room, and it's a fair guess that one of them might self destruct the building, knowing what Alec may have done here for additional security. It's in those waking moments, looking around that room, that the last vestiges of that horrible nightmare begins to bleed away out of the back of her mind.

"I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain//"

Cat sure knows how to pick songs to wake up to. Sliding her legs off of the sofa, Helena's focus blurs on the walls, on the windows, sleep still clinging to the fore of her mind, even as the haze of that nightmare is pulled away. It's a shitty looking day outside, but at least it isn't snowing again.

"Listen to the wind blow, down comes the night…"

Click At least she knows which one is the mute button for the stereo.

Her mood effects the weather; the weather effects her mood. She'd fallen asleep on the couch, curled up and staring in zombie-like dry eyed blankness at infomercials until ridiculous hours in the morning. Even with the discovery of her brother making a crack in the shield of her own numbness of late, there's still a lot about her that's wounded; the numbness of her emotional state has been something akin to soothing. The nightmares haven't helped.

She winces a little as her feet hit cold floor, but resolutely she gets up, and goes through the motions of morning ritual mechanically. Brushing teeth. Showering. Putting on coffee. Facing the day is hard, as every day she resolves to get in front of a camera, to send a message of hope, and every day she realizes that she's lost the words to say. She's promised to make sure the kids at Summer Meadows have a white Christmas. It's the most she's been able to manage.

The apartment is cold and empty, like a broken home just before the holidays. It's an unsettling feeling of surreality, being here without Cat being around. In a way, it might be what Cat must have felt for that long period of time when Helena was imprisoned in Moab. Everything feels a little detached here; the shower doesn't feel wet enough, the toothpaste isn't minty enough, the coffee isn't hot enough. Everything feels just a touch muted, like having a bad head cold. Wrapped in one of Cat's expensive bathrobes with a coffee cradled between her hands, Helena's slouched presence in the kitchen is accompanied only by the gurgling-pop of the coffee pot and the hum of the refrigerator.

Her cell phone rests on the kitchen counter next to her, no new calls having come to it. It's been like this for a while, no one calling, no one texting, and with Wireless missing and no one being any wiser as to where she is it's not surprising.

No one comes to visit, though. Not Teo, that's for certain. Not Alexander. Not Peter. It's just Helena, in the cold and empty expanse of the apartment, surrounded by everything that isn't hers, and a life that she can't even claim for her own. The photographs on the walls might have her face in them, but that sense of detachment makes it hard to really connect with. She's the face of Phoenix, but where does that even leave her now?

There's nothing here to torment her, nothing here to comfort her, just the silence of the apartment and the hollow feeling of being alone. When she's alone, it's easy for her mind to wander like it is on these things, on how everyone seems to leave her eventually. Her mother, her father, Cameron, Peter. One by one everything she cares about is taken from her, no matter how hard she tries or how hard she struggles to make it different.

It could be different. Right now, she could be speaking out for Evolved rights with Arthur Petrelli at her back. She could be walking into an engagement she would never get to see fulfilled, and die a hero and a martyr to a cause that would see fulfillment.

It's hard, here alone in the kitchen, not to realize that this is what she traded a bright future for.


Helena has never thought of herself as an addict.

It's not like she went looking for Refrain, rather than having it thrust into her system by an all too willing and twistedly loving parent. She's gotten on since that one dose just fine, even when faced with the prospect of acquiring more. But right now? In this moment, this empty, meaningless piece of time, she wants to feel the blue. Let it take her away. Allow her to exist in a happier time. The bright future was never hers. The universe denies her.

The sudden smallness of herself in the scope of time and the universe almost makes her sink to her knees right there in the middle of the kitchen. She might even indulge in it for a moment…until she starts to laugh. It's a little bitter, but it's something to cling to, followed by the chastisement she issues to herself:

"Stop acting like a spoiled brat."

The words come from across the room, however, not from where she feels her own lips moving. The moment Helena's eyes move to the reaction of unexpected sound, she spots blonde hair, straight and long, eyes halfway lidded to hide the look of contempt on her face. Her motions are smooth, slithery in the way a snake's are as she moves from the hall and into the kitchen, heeled boots clacking on the tile floor. A plastic grocery bag crinkles in one hand, fur-lined winter coat covering her body. There's a glitter of diamond on one hand. "I'm never satisfied with anything I have, am I?" One brow raises, and Helena sees herself standing there, setting the groceries down on the counter, giving herself a side-long stare.

"If only I had this if only I had that." She slams a carton of milk down on the counter, snapping a sharp glare towards her bathrobe-wrapped and coffee cradling counterpart. "Now what do I have to show for it? Nothing. I have Phoenix, ooh isn't that awesome? I have a handful of unmotivated jerks who do nothing but bitch and moan about how hard life is, and one person who does all the work while I play hero!" The plastic bag of groceries, only half emptied, is pushed across the counter.

"I'm Helena Dean," she says with a sneer, nose wrinkling, "I'm the voice of my generation," one hand waves flippantly in the air. "I'm full of shit." Those blue eyes narrow sharply, "All I am, is a spoiled brat who ruined everyone else's life to get what I wanted."

Then, with a venomous tone she adds, "And I couldn't even keep it."
Oh, no. No, no, no.

A funny things happen, a sort of splintering, in which Helena both accepts what's happening in front of her enough to invest in it, while at the same time she begins to search the room with darting, fearful eyes. Verse is dead. Verse is dead. "You're not real." she manages, grip tightening on her mug's handle. "You're not real, and even if you were, you're wrong. It's not like that," It's not. Right? "It isn't."

She takes a few steps, drinking in the sight of herself, beautiful, powerful, loved, and so very, very cold and cynical. And her own self, tired, worn out, bereft. But also, suddenly angry. "You go away." she hisses, like warding off some evil spirit. "You go away or I'll make you go away." Her knuckles curling around the mug's handle have gone white.

"There you go again…" The other Helena states, bringing one hand up to her forehead, the light from the lamps in the ceiling glittering off her diamond ring. "Putting your head in the sand." Blue eyes lift up slowly, and Helena begins to move away from the counter and circle herself, boots making soft thumps with every footfall. "This is just like how you wrenched your eyes shut and tried to pretend that there wasn't some sort of chemistry between Gillian and Peter. Like how you've been trying not to think about what happened to your dad, or how you ruined billions of lives because you selfishly couldn't deal with a world where you were dead."

Blue eyes narrow sharply, and Helena's right up in front of herself, leaning in to get a better look as if this encounter were some sort've curiosity. "You can't wish yourself away, that's not how it works. Because I am you," both her brows go up to emphasize those words, "I'm the future you ruined. I'm the hope for every single one of our kind you crushed under your heel. I'm the you that you should have been, not the selfish little princess that never wants tog row up."

Leaning away from herself, Helena's lips downturn into a scowl. "Look at this…" There's a sharp gesture around the kitchen. "We're like a parasite. Living off of Cat's good graces just like we did when we lived with our mother. What good's even being done right now with this life we have? Cat is the one off saving the world, and we're just sitting here, playing snowman for kids in the winter. God knows where Peter is…" She twists that knife a little more, "…not that I blame him for not wanting anything to do with us."

She flinches with every word, turns her head and closes her eyes - does exactly what Other Helena who merely lacks for button eyes says she'd do. Her eyes burn with tears that she refuses to allow, and her free hand presses to her heart, balling a fist and pushing against her chest to echo the hurt that comes from the inside there. "It's not like that." she hisses again, and opens her eyes, turning to stare at her counterpart.

"If you're what I become in that future, cruel and cold? Then I'm glad I did it. The ring on your finger? It's a lie. It's never going to happen. And I'm never going to become you. I don't know who you are, but you're not me, so get the fuck out of my head."

You're not me.

Those words seem to hit the apartment building like so many wrecking balls. The words shake the floor, shatter the walls and blow off the ceiling. It is a cataclysmic destruction of the house where wood and brick and glass and furnoture simply vacates up through the ceiling like some great hand had torn it all up and out of place. Helena's other self stands there at the center of the maelstrom, cyclonic wind having lifted the debris up and around her, pieces of the Village Renaissance building swirling thorugh cloudy skies, rolling peals of thunder meeting with the sound of destruction. Where the wall was torn away and kitchen table thrown skywards, Helena's more defiant self still remains, but her other self seems to have only grown more violent.

"Fool." It's spat out almost like a title, "I am you." Helena spits out, her voice a touch deeper now, coming with that roll of thunder in the distance. "I am every selfish thing you have done, I am every self-righteous stance you have taken, and I'm not what you would have become in that future. I am what you are now." The diamond on her ring shatters, pieces of glittering gemstone swirling up and around her in that stirred wind, even as droplets of rain finally begin to fall down on the demolished penthouse roof, debris free-floating all around as if they existed at the eye of an unmoving hurricane.

"Look at me, look at us." Blue eyes watch intently, coldly, and as the rain falls heavy thorugh the debris, from the whirling clouds high above. "You know what I'm saying is true… you know you doubt all of this yourself, but you refuse to acknowledge it. You refuse to admit how much of a failure you've become as a leader, how much of a failure you've been as a lover, how much of a failure you've been as a daughter." The wind picks up, whipping violently around the demolished roof, carrying the apartment's debris against a backdrop of blackening clouds and flashing lightning.

"Admit it." Helena's storm-wrought form demands of her.

The Village Renaissance Building?

Helena and Cat don't live in the Village Renaissance building anymore!

Awareness is like a whipcrack across Helena's brain, even if the surreality of her surroundings wasn't enough to confirm what she maintains about her surroundings. "No." she says, her stubborness asserting herself. "Whatever my failures are, whatever my fears, they don't own me. They can't own me. Phoenixes burn, they burn, but once they do, they come back from the ashes. And I'm the face of Phoenix. Not you. You're just…you're just a shadow."

And that's when Helena brings back her arm and lashes out, the mug swinging in an arc with intent to connect with Other Helena's temple. Violence never solves anything…until one day, it does.

The coffee mug isn't deflected by high-speed winds, isn't struck down by a bolt of lightning, it strikes Helena square in the forehead and leaves a bleeding trail as her head jerks back. There's a stagger, sharp pain and disorientation, but the wind keeps blowing so quickly. Blonde hair blows across her face, sticking to her forehead, and as she turns a bloody gash down her brow is mirrored on the woman she's looking at. They both possess the same cut, blood running down across the painful fissure of skin, trickling down the side of her face. Cherry red lips creep up into a smile, thin fingers brush hair out of her face, play in the blood, linger. "There's a difference, between owning your fears, and running from them…"

There's another thunerclap, and the surroundings change in the flash of lightning that follows. Cold concrete and rusted metal accompanies the scent of gunpowder discharge and the coppery taste of blood in her mouth. It may as well have been a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder, for all the gunshot rang off the bank vault walls. The spray of blood was so confined in the vault, droplets of it sprayed onto her mouth, in her hair and across her face.

Bill's body slumps limply to the floor, hitting the ground with a wet slap and a clatter of discarded metal. Gunfire sounds like someone making popcorn on the other side of athe vault door, even as themetal begint o creak and protest from Leonard's attempt to get in and free her. Helena's handcuffed, dehydrated and half starved, locked her ein the dark with the smell of her father's sweaty corpse near her feet, the taste of his blood on her lips.

With her back to the vault door, Helena's other self stands, eyes glowing like something out of a bad Dune ripoff, sapphire blue rings staring down at her, matched by the glow of a syringe waggled back and forth in one of her hands. "You let this genie out of the bottle, you let this happen…" The blue glow is mirrored in her eyes, "and now you want to run and hide in its warm embrace. You want to touch the safety of the past…"

"Run." The vault door rips off its hinges, flying backand away with a howl of metal, but never smashes down. The sound of gunfire has stopped, and it's not the horror of conflict that resides out that round door, but a vision of the past within reach. A dimly lit bedroom, illuminated only by a narrow shaft of light coming in thorugh an open door.

"That would be nice." Helena can see herself there, standing at the side of an old wooden chair where a man with freshly cut dark hair sits. She moves her shaving razor closer to herself, circles around the chair and sits on his lap, straddling his legs and facing him. As she gently nudges his nose upward to get his lower lip she remarks, "You could take us anywhere. I mean, if you wanted to. When this is over." She works at his upper lip with careful diligence, and rinses the razor before moving to his chin and lower lip area.

Peter watches as Helena circles around, and when she swings one legs over him and sits down on his lap, there's a noticable rise in color to his face in that narrow shaft of light spilling through the partly open door. Notably, though, not a murmur of protest — he's such a willing subject. "I— I could," A faint falter in his voice, and he's struggling to restrain a smile. "A nice, sunny beach somewhere… White sands, water you can see to the bottom of." Peter's eyes close for just a moment, but the dream he envisions doesn't compel him more than the one sitting in front of him, and those tired eyes slowly drift back open. "We could sip fruity drinks out of glasses that have umbrellas in them…" He starts to smile, then stops as he feels the edge of the razor on his lip. "The whole world isn't as crazy as this right now… There's some places, people like us can be free."

But between she and that place, between freedom and perdition, lies the blue-eyed woman and her glowing vial. "I. Am. You."

She wants that. What's beyond that door. So badly. One of her best memories of Peter, when even in the face of all that they were up against, there was time for simple pleasures, and dreams, and each other. A hand goes up to her own temple, to touch the blood there, wondering at it. Her hand starts to reach for the little glass vial…and then closes in a fist. But it doesn't lash out at her Other Self, it just curls inward. "Go away." she whispers, her fight not to sink into the other Helena's words seeming to manifest around her in ripples. "You're not me. You're what I'll become, if I let this - all of this bitterness turn itself on me. And I can't. I won't. I'm better than that. I am."

"Are you?" Helena asks herself, blue eyes flickering softly as pale fingers wind around that cylinder. The room beyond grows dark, darkning the vault as well, leaving that sapphire glow all there is behind. With her fingers wound around the syringe, blue irises dominate the dark and her voice pierces the gloom with equal sharpness. "Are you really?"

The greenery of central park at night comes focus when the blue light fades. Helena can see her other self, standing across from a beautiful dark-haired woman with the verdant forested ruins of mMidtown in the distance. Somehow, it's like neither of them recognize her in the car with them. "It's funny…" Gillian murmur, "No one really cared what happened to the future Gabriel saw." But that future was terrible. This one's only terrible for a few. She looks up at the sky for a moment, the cloud that appeared when she touched her. "Where are you staying? I'll drop you off. You don't need cab fare." She sounds tired, quiet, and almost accepting of a sort. The alcohol might have a lot to do with this. Or maybe something else.

"This is a beautiful future." Helena says softly. "But if I learned anything from Doctor Ray, it's that the river needs to flow."

"It is flowing, Helena," Gillian says with a small laugh, shaking her head. She waves a hand in the direction of her driver, as if to make the blonde girl go in front of her. "Just because you've jumped the stream, doesn't mean it wasn't flowing just fine for the rest of us." It's clear she doesn't like what she's saying, but… "I know where Cat lives, come on."

"Yeah. It flowed just fine for you, didn't it?" Helena asks bitterly, then turns her attention to her other self. "You're better than this, right?" The moment freezes, Gillian freezes, it's just the Helenas now. "Isn't that what you said?"

There's little that Helena can do to stop the flow of memories except perhaps, produce some herself.

"Is what they're saying true? It was told to me like impending death of this timeline was coming regardless, so going back would only potentially make a difference for the better. But Gillian showed me that painting, and even Abby seems to think what we're going to do brings it about." She looks up at him, distressed. "Teo, is going back going to destroy all this? Am I killing everyone - am I gonna kill you?"

"I don't think so." It's hard to see Teo's face with the lack of light, but there's conviction in his voice and a distinct inwardness to his tone, like he's very far away, but not out there. "I honestly don't think so. Tamara…I know she didn't make a lot of sense when we saw her. But there was a reason I asked her if she thought we were coming to an end here. She doesn't…she's a precog unlike the others; probably, I think, the most powerful alive. Time isn't just a dimension for her. For her, the past doesn't fucking exist.

"If she's trying to help you, it isn't for the sake of 2009. it's for the sake of everybody in this world. Our future, as well as yours. She's murdered, spoken to Kazimir Volken, put herself into comas for the greater good before." There's a shift, subtle. Wood creaking underneath him, and then the tangible weight of his regard. "I don't know why the painters and the dreamers are getting black feedback, but that could mean anything. God knows, maybe your staying here is what would fuck us all."

"But what if I am?" she asks. "What if we go back and you're gone? It means we - I've destroyed millions of people, doesn't it?" She presses fingers to her temples, rubbing them. "Gillian said I was this time's Kazimir Volken. That I only wanted to go back to return to my Peter. I know she wasn't right, but…" But what if that's the truth? Helena's afraid to review her own soul and discover that it's true.

A long sigh sluices out through Teo's teeth. He stares off into the woods for a protracted moment, the side of his hand scuffing up and down the side of his neck. "Then we die. Though if you were Kazimir Volken, that would be your aim, not something you'd be wringing your hands and wigging out on a rotten tree log about," he points out, relevantly if somewhat irreverently, glancing sidelong at the girl from underneath a lifted eyebrow. "There's a lot more to you than Peter. As much of that is practical and selfish as it is noble and anybody who faults you for either is being exactly the same."

"You can throw as much of the worst of me in my face as you want." Helena says softly. "But the people who care about me, know better. Cat knows. And Dee. And Leo. My mom knew, and Cam." Cameron. How would he think of her now, to see her like this?

"Teodoro…" Helena's voice cuts thorugh the vision like a knife, shredding it into rag-cloth strips and revealing something… not where they were, or where any of them ever were or will be. When the dream falls apart, it gives way to something else, something otherworldly in its horrifying construction. Helena is still there, still pristine in appearance, with that broken ring on her finger and a bitter smile on her lips, but the surroundings, the surroundings, they are something torn from the pages of the Divine Comedy.

They are atop a gutted skyscraper of twisted steel and shattered stone, a hot wind blowing across that roof and nothing but a fiery cityscape beyond, littered with burning embers and charred scraps of paper caught in the hot winds. The skies are choked with ash and fire, and from where both Helenas stand, it's clear that this place is nowhere.

"Where are they now? Where is Teodoro? Where is Cat? Where is Leonard? Where is Cameron?" What should be latticework of metal inside the broken concrete of the skyscraper behind Helena is instead the slicked forms of interwoven bodies, a susurrus of whimpering voices and panicked cries emanating from them, mixed with the static pop-crackle-hiss of televisions creens bristling from the building at odd angles, all of them showing news broadcasts of fiery city skylines and people covered in dust and ash fleeing down crowded streets.

"They left us, abandoned us. Do they really know we're good, or do they patronize and tell us what we want to hear?" The remaining pieces of the skyscraper behind Helena's blue-eyed form are broken into a jagged frame of twisted, rusted metal and the partially visible, screaming figures are affixed to — growing out of. It's an archway of sorts, up a flight of stone stairs, incongruent with the rest of the scenery; roman numerals etched into the stairs, zero to twenty one from bottom to top.

"No one ever stays in your life, and you somehow think that is their fault? It's you that drove them away. You that made Teo feel more comfortable anywhere but here." Cold blue eyes of the doppleganger peer at Helena. Some of the figures behind her — statues — are children, locked in horrified posture with hands covering their faces, thirty-six children in all, each in a uniquely tormented posture like some macabre art gallery, formed in a half circle around the base of the stairs. "No one wants you."

The sky looks pissed.

The wind talks back.

My bones are shifting in my skin

And you my love are gone.

"No." Helena says softly. But the truth is, this is the fundamental aspect of her shadow. That she's alone, that no one wants her. "No." she says again, backing away. But she doesn't turn away. "Cat, Teo, Leo - they'll all come back. The ones that count, they won't leave me." But this is the thing that she's most afraid of.

"Did Peter?" It comes with no pride, no whip-crack sharpness, just a somber half-lidded stare. The rooftop creaks and grons under Helena's feet as she backpedals away from her blue-eyed counterpart, moves across cracked stone away from the ascending stairs, from the statues of thirty-six horrified children, away from the world around her that is — Midtown. Despite the smoke, the flames, the ashes and the soot, this is the burning remnants of Midtown ablaze, a fiery remembrance of the day the world lost its innocence.

"Did mother?" Each word drives Helena's heels back, step by step, continues that reverse progress away from her double. "They're gone, and they don't need us. We were supposed to die, we weren't supposed to make it through this. The world rejects us…" A sad, weary expression comes over her double's form as she watches Helena intently. At that gaze, Helena can feel the edge of the roof behind her heel, feel the crack-chip of stone breaking away, the hot wind of the burning city below licking at her back. No where else to run to now, just a few steps between freedom and perdition again.

"Go on…" Helena's shadow whispers, "one more step."

So glide away on soapy heels

And promise not to promise anymore

And if you come around again

Then I will take, then I will take the chain from off the door

One more step.

How tempting. She's not supposed to be here, and she's so tired, and no one wants her. Cat will continue her legacy, Peter will have his Queen of Hearts, and she will be as she is supposed to be.

For a long time, Helena contemplates the drop - remembers how Peter fell over a rooftop, wonders how it felt when Brian fell out of the sky. It's not the fall - just meeting the earth. It would set things right.

Helena takes the step.

The hand that grabs her though, is not expected, and as she is pulled back onto the roof, she gasps in surprise, turning to face…


The honk of traffic far below is the first thing that Helena wakes to. The feeling of a hand on her wrist that isn't there, the scent of cigarette smoke and his cologne, but the skies aren't on fire here. The sun hasn't come up yet, but it's glow threatens the horizon. The air is crisp and cold, concrete likewise so beneath Helena's bare feet. A cold breeze blows thorugh the nightshirt and flannel pants she wore to bed, and the feeling of vertigo comes in as she realizes she's standing backwards on the edge of the Alley Cat Courier building's rooftop.

A car honks on the street below as it rounds a corner, the running lights of a jet-liner flash distant in the skies above, and she is one step away from falling to her death. It's very cold out.

It's supposed to snow today.

Helena steps back from the edge with a gasp. She suddenly realizes she's cold, and within mere seconds, she is enveloped in warmth of her own making. She looks around in wonderment, in fright, and for a little while, can't bring herself to move at all.

I'll never say,

That I'll never love.

But I don't say a lot of things

And you my love are gone.

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