This Is Me, Starting Over


kaylee2_icon.gif peter7_icon.gif

Scene Title This Is Me, Starting Over
Synopsis Peter checks up on Kaylee's health now that he's back int he states, only to lecture her about her life choices.
Date January 21, 2010

Staten Island, McRae's Safehouse

She had only been back at the safe house for a short time, having been working at the bookstore and a bit at Summer Meadows, when Kaylee got a surprising phone call. It had been several month since she heard from Peter Petrelli, while there has always been the thought of where the hell he could be in the back of her mind, life had kept her busy enough not to think too hard about it. She actually held the handset away from her ear for a second and starred at it as if the phone was lying to her. It had been a short conversation with some one interrupting so she agreed she'd see him in a few.

Sitting at the empty dinner table, one knee pulled up and her socked foot set on edge of the seat, many of the residents having tripped off to bed, Kaylee glances at the clock with a small concerned frown. Maybe he forgot? It had been a lot longer then he said it would be. A half empty mug of coffee sit in front of her, one hand slowly turning it.

As she watches that second hand tick past another minute, Kaylee can't help but think back to the last time they set at the table. The memory of those tortured voices still remembered. So much had happened since then, she has been a horrible dying wreck of a person then, what would he think of her now?

It's been a lot longer than he'd said he'd be, a lot longer than it normally takes to get from Manhattan to Staten Island, all things considered. But when Kaylee hears a quiet commotion in the living room, the noise of the front door opening and quiet words being exchanged between the man on watch at the door and a guest arriving, Kaylee has a fairly solid idea of just who's decided to finally show up after all these months.

It's only on his way towards the kitchen when she can start to hear him talking, "…to make sure you had all heard. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to break this place down and get moving, sooner rather than later." He's walking backwards into the kitchen, still talking to someone in the living room. Snow has collected on the shoulders of his black pea-coat, collar upturned to hide the back of his neck, but not high enough to conceal the bright red scarf he wears beneath.

When Peter finally turns, offering a polite laugh to the too-quiet response from the other room, he doesn't look a thing like the man Kaylee saw all those months ago. He's still thin, thin as a rail, but the color in his face isn't quite so drained looking any more. Sure, the change from blue eyes to brown is unusual, but all of those smaller details pale in comparison to the fact that he's missing that horrible scar that once cut across his face. He almost looks… ordinary, now.

"Hey," Peter offers with a raise of his brows, lopsided smile settled crooked on his mouth, "they told me you were doing better, but this is surprising. Look at you!" Hands coming out from the pockets of his pea coat, Peter makes a broad gesture towards Kaylee. "I was worried, you know, after having to disappear like I did." His smile turns into a more modest smirk, still crooked though by no merit of the content. "You look good."

Head tilted a the sound in the other room, Kaylee pushes the chair back and stands. The soft maroon sweater with it's wide turtle neck is tugged down as she feels the need to make herself presentable. Hands brush, suddenly nervous, on her dark jeans. So when Peter walks into the kitchen, the blond telepath is standing there waiting. She is definitely not the same, she had been all sunken features and thin from being sick all the time, but now thanks to the good cooks in the house, the young woman looked… normal and healthy.

Of course, Kaylee can't help but stare at Peter when he walks into the room, this was not the man that left. Her mouth tugs into a lop-sided smirk, as she searches that familiar, but drastically changed face. "Wow…" She finally manages to say softly, her own brows lifting. "I'm not the only one that looks good. "

A finger scratches the side of her face, but then motions her eyes as she lets her confusion show. "I thought you had blue eyes…. and… the…..?" The words trail off as she just looks stunned, but then she gives herself a shake. "I'm sorry… God, I'm being rude…" She gives a nervous laugh and motions at the kitchen behind her. "I… ah… can I get you anything to drink?"

"I'm used to rude," Peter jokes with a crooked smile, shoulders rising with a good-natured smile smapped across his face on his way in to the kitchen, "but really— it's no big deal. If I walked in here with a parrot on my shoulder and an eyepatch I'd expect you to call me a pirate. Yeah, the ah," he traces a finger across his face, "scar thing is gone. It's a long story, but I've… kind've had a lot on my mind lately?" Peter's expression turns a bit wry as he clarifies unhelpfully, "I'd kind've felt like I had a lot going on upstairs." His finger taps at his forehead, and after that motion he comes ot stand behind one of the chairs at the dining table.

"So— I guess I don't even need to ask how you're doing. You look like you've made a full recovery." Wringing his fingers over the back of that chair he's standing behind, Peter furrows his brows and looks Kaylee up and down, brown eyes seeming much softer than those cold blue ones were. "I guess— that's really all I'd come here for. I felt terrible for having to bail on you, especially after leaving you with my mother." He says that like it's a bad thing.

"Well… " Kaylee starts sheepishly, "Seems helping your mother was the trick, I started feeling better after that… so… I owe you for that." A hand motions at him, with a small awkward smile, "I have to be careful still… I say or think the wrong thing and I get this… twist of pain in my stomach.. so I kind of have a reminder all the time."

After a bit of hesitation, Kaylee settles into her chair, foot coming up again, fingers hooking around the knee to hold it there, "Your mother had a lot to tell me about Adam. Told me some things. She didn't seem… that bad to me. Not that I'd you know.. completely trust her… being a founder and all…" She grins and glances down, feeling a bit shy with this virtual stranger.. even the mental impression was different. It was a bit unsettling. "So… your forgiven for bailing, though I was admittedly a bit disappointed you kind of disappeared." Blue eyes lift to look at him for a brief moment, though her head doesn't move.

"The voices…" She looks up finally and motions at his head with a circle of her finger, ".. I can imagine didn't help at all. They… I don't know how you did it Peter." Kaylee sounds impressed, "When I got that peek… they sounded…. so tortured."

"I couldn't hear them…" It's a very sharp, very quick explanation Peter offers as he pulls out the kitchen chair, settling down on it with a bit more weight than it seems like his shoulders can bear. The look on Peter's face is a bit haunted, when he thinks back to what Kaylee's reminded him of. "I— I could, just not all the time. It's… really complicated, but it doesn't really matter anymore either. It's all over, and— what that was is long gone." With a furrow of his brows, Peter adds, "I wish the same could be said for Adam." And the tone implies one thing at a time in subtle conspiracy.

"I was susprised to find out McRae still kept things running out here. The papers are talking about how the government's trying to get Staten Island back in shape. I figured the Ferry would be running out of here as fast as they can." Shifting his weight forward in the seat, Peter folds his hands in front of his mouth, resting his chin on folded fingers. "Not— that it's really any of my business. Truth be told, I'm… sort've trying to get out of all of this."

"Well… those voices made me worry. I don't think I could have handled it. Hell, I can't drink alcohol without ending up in a coma or something." Kaylee still sounds impressed, "Maybe one day you can share the story, hmm?" The blonde tilts her head a bit and arches a brow. "If you ever do… I'm always willing to listen."

Her expression turns somewhat serious though at the mention of Staten Island reclamation. "Your trying to get out of it al, I've been sinking in deep all this time you've been gone." Kaylee says softly, watching him as if almost tempted to peek, not that she would. That soft whisper that haunts her nightmares seems to whisper to her now. "Um… So much happened after you disappeared. Kids getting really sick…. Course, about that time Eileen disappeared too." She frowns a bit at the thought.

"I don't know why we haven't left the island yet, truthfully. But it's kind of my home, so I'm not going to argue it. I gave one of the safe houses my furniture to try to make things better. So it's been easier to stay in the house." A glance goes out into the house, "I figure maybe McRae is just being stubborn." A small smile touches her lips before looking back at Peter. "Between sick kids.. people accusing me and Eric of doing things that…. technically we didn't did." Sighs softly, "Long story there too… I've been working out on Roosevelt Island.. An actual job at a bookstore and I don't know if you've seen stuff about Summer Meadows?" Brows lift a bit when she asks. "I've spent so much time there." She looks slightly embarrassed, "Add to it some evolved guy screwing with my nightmares and just about…." Her mouth snaps shut and she glances at him, then to the door hoping no one heard her… Lord knows they probably would have no problem telling him about her dip in the bay.

"Ah… anyhow.." Kaylee scrambles to change the subject. "So your trying to get out of all this? What do you plan to do?"

Having been quiet while Kaylee talked, Peter's attention settled down on the tabletop in front of him, brown eyes tracing back and forth in a way that makes it uncertain if he's actually listening or lost in his own world. He lets all mention of Kazimir and his ability fall away, disappearing to the wayside like the dropped conversational ball that it is, the less people who know about that the better— in Peter's mind anyway. When he does finally opt to speak up, it's on a seemingly unrelated topic. "Where's your family?" It's an invasive question, abruptly fired off as Peter finally looks up to make eye contact with Kaylee again.

"I mean— I guess I figure you're running away from something, aside from Adam, if you're still here with these people." Peter offers a squint, leaning back in his chair and smoothing the palms of his hands across the table top. "I mean— this can't be what you want to do with your life, right? Hide in run-down apartment buildings and suck up the smell of diesel generators, praying that the government doesn't ome kick down the door?"

Furrowing his brows, Peter folds his hands together, sliding to one side to sit crooked in his chair. "Are you a wanted criminal? Or…" He seems surprisingly nosy.

The questions seem to totally throw Kaylee for a loop, her mouth opening… but the words don't come right away so her mouth shuts again. Glancing away from him, Kaylee frowns as she tries to think how to answer him. "My family is in Kentucky. Except for my dad who blew up in midtown.. His family I haven't any idea, never met any of my siblings." Blue eyes give him a matter of fact look, "Not that it matters being here in New York and don't go try making me go home. It's not going to happen."

"Besides… I'm not really running away from anything." The leg slides off her chair and she leans forward, resting her arms on it. Sh sounds a touch irritated, "Before all this crap happened to me, Peter, I was going no where. I was probably on my way to being a criminal." He can probably almost see the partying life she led, the men she seduced with her ability. Wait he is seeing what she did… it's only flashes of images.. but sometimes it's easier, she learned that recently, but she's not aware she's doing it. Though before the images stop, the flash of her nightmare self… then it's all gone.

"Being here… " She stabs the table with her index finger. "It's changed me. I hope I can say for the better." She means it too, though she still fights the urges of her ability. "I threw my lot in with the Ferrymen when I had to sit and watch children die… Die, Peter. Little kids who had a full life left to live. All cause their parents were afraid to lose them to the government cause of the abilities one or more had."

Sitting back heavily in the chair she shakes her head. "There is a man within the Ferry.. His name is Pastor Sumter, talking to him also helped me decide to help. This group is about helping. They are behind Summer Meadows… we've been steadily rebuilding it for the people living there." Kaylee gets a pained look as she mentions the Pastor. "Of course, Joseph has gone missing and we've been looking for him." Her eyes closes for a moment, before she looks at the man across from her.

"It's not about running away anymore… Adam I haven't hide nor hair of." There is a cringe as her stomach twists. "I guess that's my proof he really didn't care." There is a sadness in her voice and she looks down at the table.

Brows furrowed sharply, Peter jerks his head back a little, having forgotten for a moment exactly what it is Kaylee does. Then, relaxing, his voice has a somewhat bitter edge to it. "Midtown… yeah," his throat tightens, eyes cast to the side, then back to Kaylee, "it's always something." Rolling his tongue over the inside of his cheek, Peter slowly rises from the table and starts to walk around to where Kaylee is, his eyes following her as he moves. "I'm— sorry if that was kind've an out of line question. I just— I don't see how doing this is going to make your life any better than trying to do something normal would. Get a real job, or register and try to go to school. You've got a real talent, and it's going to waste trying to fight an uphill battle."

Keeping his voice down, Peter shakes his head slowly and seems to more conspiratorially offer his commentary to Kaylee. "The Ferrymen are good people, but… really, what kind of future do you think you're going to have doing this the rest of your life? At the best, you stay living from day to day, at worst, you wind up in jail." Peter's head shakes slightly, "You're… better than that, and frankly," he looks around the somewhat run-down conditions of the building, then angles a dark-eyed stare back to Kaylee. "You're… better than this."

The mention of registration makes her cringe, Kaylee can't help it, she knows what she is. "My ability is dangerous Peter." She says softly, not looking at him right away. "What do you think they would think of someone that can make a man, shot his own comrades and then take his own head off? Make them want her?" Eyes close against the memories, but luckily he doesn't get to see the Pinehearst one. "Someone that can make people think they saw something else… or even dig up their darkest secrets?"

"Trust me, Peter… I'm not better then this." Her eyes lift to look at him as he approaches her, "I'd truthfully deserve whatever hole they'd throw me into. If anything, these people are better then me." She smiles sadly. "I haven't even had a real relationship.. Do you know that? I'd rather keep people away from me. Keep people at a distance, maybe then my ability won't influence them." She gives a humorless laugh, it sounds almost sad, and give a dismissive flick of her wrist. "It would be my luck and I'll accidentally use my ability and make them mine." There was a time it was so easy for her to do. Now…. "It's bad enough people distrust me for what I am. I've had people run from me."

"I'm not better then this. There is no normal life for a telepath like me…" Kaylee sounds very bitter about that. Her head has to tilt back to look up at him, searching his face for something. "Besides, I just walk away… and I let down a lot of people that count on me…. good people." Not that he'd think of Eric as good.

"I used to do the telepathy thing," Peter off-handedly states in the same way someone would say they used to drive a Nissan, "I know what that temptation is like, to put something into someone's head. It's not really a secret around here in the Ferry, but I used to have more than one ability. I'd… well, I'd have whatever ability I wanted, as long as I'd been around it before. Things changed, I changed, and now… it's different." He cuts down the long, convoluted story to the broad strokes.

"I learned a lot, having that power I had when you first met me. Learned a lot about control, and just how many an ability can have control over you. But if I can fight that thing, you can fight what it is you have." Looking down at Kaylee, Peter crosses his arms and exhales a tired sigh. "You don't have to tell the government everything you can do when you register. Most people make… omissions. Frankly, I think my mother might be able to get you in a better position than anything, she does owe you, after all."

Biting down on his lower lip, Peter considers just how odd it is to be saying these things. "My mother's probably on the winning side of how everything's going." Peter admits with a lopsided smile. "It might not be such a bad idea to talk to her, and see if… I dunno, there's a place for you. Founder of the Company means she has connections, bigger and better ones than you'd find here. I just…" Peter shakes his head, slowly. "I'm tired of watching good people waste their lives fighting a losing battle. It doesn't have to be this way."

"Is… that what you think this is? A losing battle?" Kaylee asks softly, studying him curiously, her own arms folding. "To just give up and give them what they want?" Eyes narrow at Peter and Kaylee slowly stand, arms unfolding so that she can push herself to her feet. Even though she looks like she wants to be mad, her voice stays calm, her way of controlling herself. "I can think of a lot of times in history where if people had given up…. things would be way different if people didn't keep doing what they thought was the right thing."

"What I do, Peter…. is not fighting. I'm not fighting anything. I'm helping people try to have some sort of life in a world that's scared of them. Joseph…. he was registered.. He was taken by Humanis First.. tortured and hung for what he is. Yet he continued on.. Asked that Emilie Danko be turned over to the authorities.. even after what happened." She steps away from the chair so she can pace away in her frustration, gesturing with a hand. "Now he's been kidnapped again." She turns and rests her hand on the back of a chair, brows lifting, "Would you have me walk away and leave him to whatever has happened to him?" Her voice takes on a pleading tone, wanting him to understand. "Would you walk away?"

"I've nursed sicks kids here on Staten, I helped capture Danko where the government failed.. and supported Joseph in his choice to hand him over to authorities. I've successfully organized Christmas for the kids in Summers Meadow and the safe houses and got Eric Doyle to dress up as Santa" That alone is a feat. Fingers are held up for each point as she continues. "I have been working my ass off painting, building and helping rebuild homes in Summers Meadow." Moving towards him again, Kaylee glances around. Yes, I'm living in a hovel and sharing a room with 5 other woman. But how is what I'm doing a bad thing Peter?"

Hands spread out before her, "Tell me how?" Kaylee asks softly.

"You can do volunteer work without living in a run-down shack." Peter emphasizes with a wave of his hands, "I know you might feel like it's giving up, but really, the alternative is dodging the police and risking getting locked up. I'm registered now," Peter explains, quietly, "I have a nice apartment, I'm trying to start work as an EMT. You can do legitimate good for people, and not have to be hiding fromt he law. This whole… this world we're living in, it's only as difficult as we make it. I— I learned a lot about that over the last few months."

Swallowing awkwardly, Peter shakes his head. "Sometimes, the harder you try to fight against the world, and make it what you want it to be, the worse it becomes. The Ferrymen, they do a lot of good, but they aren't a charity, they're an organization designed to help people break the law and escape registration. If that's what you want to do with the rest of your life, I'm not going to stop you…"

Furrowing his brows, Peter takes a step back from the table, hands folding behind his back. "But I'v seen enough people I care about killed, because they were set in their ways. I've seen too many people ruin their lives, I've just— I'm sick of the struggle. I just want to live a normal life, at my own pace, and not have to worry about saving the world. The world can save itself. You should start looking out for yourself more, Kaylee…"

Frowning, Peter looks to the blonde with a marked expression of uncertainty. "Otherwise, you're going to wake up one day, and everything you've been fighting for will be gone, and you'll just wind up more alone than you think you are now."

"I'm already alone in someways." Kaylee says softly in a very matter of fact way, not moving any closer to him, a hand moving to rest on the back of a chair. Fingers grip the wood tightly, "Though, I'm less alone then I was trying to be normal. I know what alone feels like." She still does, her nightmares have pointed that out to her.

"And think, Peter…. Adam was killing founders.. the one that did this too me? He killed her on the steps of a courthouse. Do you think I got away without being noticed?" Kaylee smiles a bit and shakes her head slowly. "For all I know, my blind stupidity, has made me a wanted woman. Not sure I can take that chance."

"Besides, right now I can't live normal. Not with Joseph gone.. not with this Nightmare man running around." Kaylee is quiet for a moment before she states flatly. "Making people suicide.. like I almost did. I didn't ask him to invade my nightmares. He just does, turning my ability against me." Her eyes fall to a bowl of fruit, a shiny red apple sitting there.

"You can only be as normal as life will let you be." Kaylee's eyes turn to meet his, a chaotic swirl of emotions colors her voice. "How long do you think life will let you be normal? I lost normal many times. The day I learned I had an ability and I accidentally made a boy kill himself in a lake. " Almost makes her own attempt ironic. "I lost normal. The day Midtown exploded the day I was suppose to meet my dad for the first time.. The bastard child of an affair meeting her father.. I lost normal again… The day Adam walked into my life… I again lost normal…." There is a frown as she glances away from him, "I guess I've given up on normal. Normal doesn't want me."

She gives a bitter laugh and turns away, hiding the sudden tears that started to gather in her eyes. This isn't' something she does, and it's embarrassing to have someone see it. "Know what.. I don't know why I'm trying. You want normal. I get that.. I really do. Everyone wants normal." Kaylee wipes at the corner of her eyes to try an prevent anymore tears. "Live normal… you've probably got a better shot at it then most of us."

The mention of Midtown makes Peter's brow tense, but he clings instead to what Kaylee said about the boy and the lake. "You can dwell on your failures or you can get over them." Tucking ihs hands into the pockets of his coat, Peter looks down to the floor and shakes his head. "It's never too late to try and start over again, Kaylee." Furrowing his brows, Peter looks to the blonde with an uneasy expression, taking a step over to lay his hand down on her shoulder, followed by a flash of colorless light. His brows furrow, head quirks to the side, and then that once glowing hand of his comes up to tap at the side of his head.

If I can control this, so can you. Peter's voice echoes inside of Kaylee's head. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and start making changes you want to see, whatever they are.

Scratching at the side of his cheek, Peter looks towards the doorway to the living room, then reaches inside of the pocket of his jacket and pulls out a crumpled piece of paper. "I'd meant to give this to McRae in case of emergencies, but…" Laying it down on the table, Peter slides it towards the blonde. "My apartment and phone number. If you want to talk again… just give me a call, or stop by." Breathing in slowly, Peter rolls his shoulders, circling the table before making his way to the doorway out of the kitchen.

He lingers there, int he threshold, then turns to look back at Kaylee. "I get that you've had problems, we all have. Doesn't mean you've gotten let 'em rule your life. There's always a way out." Brow furrowed, Peter nods his head slowly, quietly. "It's good to see you're healthy again, Kaylee…"

There is a flinch at the touch, but then Kaylee's head comes up and turns slightly towards him at the voice in her mind, he can see the surprise and confusion. When he steps away, her shoulders seem to relax a bit and she wipes at the moisture again. "This is me starting over again." The words come out rather lame, obviously something he said having planting a seed of doubt.

Turning slightly as he slides the piece of paper over, Kaylee reaches over to pick it up, still not looking at him just yet. Folding it between the fingers of one hand as she glances back at him, noticing him leaving. Her own voice slips through his own mind with practiced ease, as blue eyes still shiny with tears meet his.

For what it's worth, Peter, I glad I got to see you again…. alive. Kaylee had worried about that, he'd know that using her ability. Grabbing a now cold cofee to dump it down the sink, she adds. I'll think about what you said, Peter, but I'm sure we'll talk again.

That's a promise.

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