Isaac Mendez sets out his kit with shaking hands, working by feel. As he unrolls the cloth, scoops powder into the spoon and drips in water, he's not looking at his hands, not watching what he's doing; he's seeing fresh and painful memories, his canvases shuffling as an invisible Peter Petrelli slipped between them, the black gun waving in midair as he tried to aim at the sound, Simone's shocked face just before she collapsed. Over and over, like an inescapable vision, like a torturous loop, Isaac sees Peter vanish, sees his own hands shake around the gun, sees Simone fall, the one event he couldn't predict, the one disaster he didn't see coming. He almost spills, almost drops the needle; he whispers curses as he struggles to assemble oblivion. Only heroin can blank his mind and wipe Simone's death from his thoughts. He lifts the needle, makes himself flick it to dislodge any bubbles, stretches out his leg where he knows he's got a good vein left—
The needle's pulled away, flying from his hand on an unnatural trajectory. Footsteps thump across the floor as Peter fades into view, mouth already open, and Isaac slumps, turning away. He'd lunge, but his body's heavy, his heart sore. Heroin's the only thing he has left, and Petrelli won't even leave him that.
"Don't do this," Peter is saying, eyes bright, voice loud in Isaac's loft. "You can't do this. Isaac." He's got the needle in one hand, waved high over his head, out of reach of the grab Isaac doesn't have the energy to try.
He barely even has energy to flip Petrelli off. "Leave me alone," Isaac tries to shout and only sighs. "You took everything. You took Simone. Leave me my drugs and get the fuck out."
"No," Peter keeps saying, and now he's in Isaac's face, and the slow burn in Isaac's belly just might fuel a good punch. "No, you can't get high — look at me. Look at me, Isaac." Peter tilts Isaac's chin up, and Isaac doesn't want to remember that look in his eyes. "I swear to you." Peter's big, girl-pretty, guileless eyes. "You can't get high, not now. Not when Simone's alive."
"I can't believe you two idiots," Simone snapped, one hand on each of their chests, pressing them up against the back wall beside each other. Petrelli was close enough to punch but Isaac didn't dare move, restrained by the pressure of Simone's fingertips over his heart; Peter stood just as still, looking at Simone like he has no right to, eyes big and brown and full of her face. "Were you seriously about to have a fight in the middle of our gallery opening?"
It's not Peter's gallery opening, Isaac wanted to say, but he knew how Simone got when she was mad, he just shrugged and hoped she'd smile. Petrelli hung his head, hair dangling over one eye, and he should look ashamed, he had no right to be there, looking for Simone no matter what he said about his wealthy brother's art collection.
Simone shook her head so hard her curls swung. "Peter, you stay back here," she ordered. "Isaac, come with me and behave, there are people out there who want to spend money on your art. And after we're done here, the three of us and a bottle of whiskey are going to settle this, once and for all."
Peter easily blocks the first two punches, and Isaac doesn't have a third in him. He slumps back onto his stool like he was the one beaten, but then he is, and shoves his hands in his hair. "Fuck you," he gasps, voice thin and weak and pathetic.
"She's alive," Peter insists, dropping to his knees in front of Isaac, hands out like that'll make him look harmless. "I wouldn't lie, not about this. Isaac, I swear to you."
Isaac saw her fall, the blood spread across her chest. He felt her limp and heavy in his hands, he heard her last breath rattle. "How do you know?" he asks dully, when he should be bashing in Peter's nose.
"I dreamt it," Peter says, as if that means anything, and Isaac growls derisively, though he still has no strength to lift his head. "I talked to Charles… it doesn't matter. I know she's alive. Hey." He pauses, giving Isaac a space to speak, but Isaac has nothing to say to him. "It's not that different from your painting."
"A dream." Isaac waves one hand. "Just, just go away, go blow the city up, leave me —"
"No, not when I need your help. Not when Simone needs your help." Peter's hand is heavy on Isaac's shoulder. "I need you to paint her. Where she is, where she'll be."
All Isaac can see behind his eyes is Simone dying between him and Peter, in the doorway of his loft. "Paint's over there," he mutters, gesturing. He's seen Peter steal his gift before; why not now, when he's taken everything else?
"No, you have to paint it." Peter shakes him a little. "I can finish them, sometimes, but not this one. I need you to do it."
Isaac itches and burns and he wants Peter off him. He rolls his shoulder out of Peter's grip, tips back his head to snarl, but the curses don't make it out of his mouth. Those earnest eyes again, wide and bottomless like they were that night, as if Peter's never told a lie. "She's alive," Peter tells him, quietly, truthfully. "And she needs your help."
Isaac shakes his head and scrubs his hands through his hair. But he gets up, grabbing a handful of brushes as he heads for his paints.
The bottle was empty, Simone's couch was plush and small, and Isaac Mendez was anIV drug abuser, Peter knew better, he could hear in Nathan's voice in the back of his head, not quite drowned out by Isaac's brilliant smile and Simone's laughter.
Not quite, but nearly. Peter had hardly ever heard Simone laugh, a big charming ripple that belied her reserved nature, and he wanted to hear it again so much he kept saying dumb funny things, grinning at Isaac tucked behind her as they shared her laughter. Peter didn't like Isaac and Isaac didn't like him, but it was getting really hard to remember that as they sat together making Simone happy.
Simone recovered from her laugh, opening her eyes wide, then narrowing them until they glittered at Peter. "I know," she said, tilting her head, her soft hair brushing Peter's arm, her full lips curving in a smile, "I know what you like." She reached up, fingers sliding into Peter's hair and folding tightly around a handful, pulling hard enough to make him gasp and his head bend down to her, and she kissed him, hard with her teeth against his lip, hard enough to make him shiver.
Simone dragged on Peter's hair to tilt his head, sending another shudder through him, and he gasped as her teeth pressed bright dents into his lower lip. But whether or not he wanted to, he couldn't help but hear Isaac's long shaky sigh; Simone let go, and Peter's eyes were dazed when he blinked them, but when he blinked again he couldn't help but see that Isaac wasn't smiling.
Then Simone turned around, stretching up her long sleek arms, and said, "I know what you like, too," as she slipped those arms around Isaac's neck, as his deep eyes turned to her and he leaned down. She kissed him, and it looked softer than how she'd kissed Peter, Isaac's hand sure on her waist, their mouths moving together. They looked so beautiful together Peter found himself wondering if Isaac had ever painted that, found himself wanting another kiss, from each of them, from both at once.
Simone let Isaac go, but left one arm around his neck; she tangled the other hand back into Peter's hair, smiling up at them both. "I think you could like each other." She leaned back into the couch, into both of their arms around her. Peter was nodding when Isaac's hand slid warm and slightly rough along his jawline; he looked up, and Isaac was smiling and leaning in, and as Peter leaned forward to meet him over her Simone languidly laughed again.
Isaac staggers back when he's done, as if he's about to fall; Peter catches him, the muscles of his arms still ropy and hard under Peter's hands as Peter helps him to his stool. Peter shakes off the feel and leans forward to look. There's Simone in a white room, pounding on a glass wall, being watched by a tall man in horn-rimmed glasses and a sleek-looking woman giving her a derisive wave. Peter's knuckles strain as his hands curl into tight fists.
Isaac stares at the picture, fist caught to his mouth. "The place in Texas," he mutters, sounding disbelieving. "Eden's boss."
"Bennett," Peter agrees. "Nice friends you've got, huh?"
"He took Simone?" Isaac still sounds stunned. "He made us think she was dead and took her? But, why?"
"That's the guy you sold me out to." Peter can't stay still. "That's what he does." He stalks amongst Isaac's paintings, the canvases shuffling and rattling on their easels. "You've been there too, huh? You know where that place is."
"Yeah…" Isaac looks up at Peter. "I know."
"Then come on." Peter heads for the window, thinking about Nathan hovering a careful few inches off the ground. His heels feel weightless already. But he doesn't hear footsteps behind him, and when he turns back Isaac is just staring at him, eyes liquid and dark.
"What do you need me for?" Isaac asks, voice hoarse. "You can…. all I can do is paint. You can do anything."
For a moment Peter wants to agree. For a moment he wants to turn back to the window, take the next three steps at a run and throw himself out into the air. But… "Because." He holds his hand out to Isaac. "Because you love her."
Isaac breathes as sharply as if Peter hit him. But he nods, and gets up. "So do you." His hand is warm and slightly rough, folding into Peter's.
Simone was beautiful, chest heaving, gasping and smiling and squeezing Peter's hand; Isaac was beautiful, hair damp and glistening, face pressed to Simone's shoulder as he panted for breath. Peter couldn't close his eyes, could barely make himself blink. All he could do is stare at the two of them in his arms, Simone's sleek skin and Isaac's long lean lines, the curves of her breasts and the wings of his shoulderblades. Peter watched them and felt Simone's hand squeeze tight around his, Isaac's hand splayed over his ribs, all their legs a hot damp tangle.
Simone blinked, eyes still dark and glittering, turned that shine on Peter and smiled up at him. She stroked her other hand through Isaac's hair as she disentangled her fingers from Peter's to brush them over his cheek. "Hey," she said softly.
"Uh," was all Peter could manage, and Isaac snickered at him. But Simone was just too gorgeous for words. They both were. She grinned at him, fingers stroking up over his ear and down around the back of his neck, pulling him in to kiss her; he went happily, his eyes falling closed, and her mouth was soft and full, just a trace of whiskey, just a little sweet.
Then she pushed, hardening the kiss, and Peter heard Isaac shift as Simone sat up, pulling his hair taut, arching his neck back. Peter moaned into the kiss as she pushed him down, her other hand tracing a hot line down his spine and curving around his hip.
Another hand joined hers, as Isaac climbed over; Peter reached up blindly and Isaac caught his wrist and held it down to the bed. Simone pulled away and Peter lay gasping, too shaken to get his eyes open, but he felt them look at each other, heard Simone's chuckle. He didn't even know whose long-fingered hand curled around him, but he could feel Simone smooth and warm pressed to his side, breathing heat in his ear, and Isaac thin and strong atop him and kissing him so hard his eyes rolled back.
Punching the glass isn't going to help, Simone tells herself, flattening her fists out against the clear barrier of her cell. These crazy-ass people, that cool businessman — she knows she's seen him at one of Isaac's showings — and his bitchy little henchwench, they might be sure she has some 'ability', as they put it, but super-strength unfortunately isn't it.
She leans her forehead against the cool glass. Think, she tells herself, remembering her father's calm voice. Think. At least now she knows there are people with abilities, and she knows at least two of them. Maybe Isaac and Peter can find her somehow, between those pictures Isaac paints of things he couldn't possibly otherwise know, and all Peter's potential her father talked about. Hopefully, since she doesn't even know where she is, beyond this stupid little white room.
Simone looks around the stupid little white room one more time. Her blazer tossed on the table, the only furniture in the place, but it's not like having her walked to the bathroom by two husky, silent guards isn't sufficient security there; she can't kick anyone in the head. Blank walls, a fluorescent light in the ceiling, the glass observation window and the keypad on the door.
The keypad's backplate extends through the door, four screws attaching it on Simone's side. They look like plain ordinary screws, and Simone examines at them carefully, then at her shoes.
She sighs. She's going to miss these shoes; comfortable heels are hard to find, and these have just the right amount of cleavage. But she sits down, back to the glass wall in case anyone comes in. It takes fifteen minutes of methodically working the heels, bending them back and forth against the floor, but one finally snaps off, and there's a blade of metal reinforcing it. Simone pries that out, thanking God she got a manicure recently, hides the shoes under the table, and starts working on the screws. It takes at least another fifteen minutes, her makeshift screwdriver slipping over and over, and every time she hears a noise she stops with her heart in her throat, but none of these bastards comes by to check on her until she's got all four screws loosened almost all the way. A final twist to each, a deep breath, protecting her hand with her blazer and a push—
The keypad falls out. The door swings open. And, of course, a siren goes off, whooping overhead, but it's not going to be any better for her if she just sits and waits. Grabbing her blazer, Simone runs for it.
The corridors are white and silent and featureless, and she's about to dart in a random direction when she hears precisely the voices she was hoping for, arguing quietly with each other. Hoping she's not just hallucinating them, hoping it's not a trick, Simone runs around the corner and finds Peter and Isaac glaring at each other like they always do, before they hear her and look up and smile.
She still doesn't know which one she's gladder to see. At the moment she really doesn't care. She flings herself at them and they catch her simultaneously, hugging her tightly; Peter kisses her forehead, Isaac pulls her to himself and kisses her mouth. "I thought—" he says, eyes wide and wet, before Peter shushes him, and whatever he thought must've been bad.
But Peter's right; Simone's footsteps aren't the only ones in the corridor. "Quiet," he whispers, wrapping his arm around them both, pushing them against the wall. Simone holds her breath, Isaac trembling behind her, as three guards run right past; somehow they don't see them. It must be something Peter's doing.
Whatever it is, it works. "C'mon," Peter says, tugging on them both, and as they resume running Simone sees that even Isaac's not arguing.
The first thing Simone noticed in the morning were the spikes in her temples. Not real ones, but whiskey produced a pretty good imitation, especially because she forgot to drink enough water. Both Peter and Isaac were pretty distracting, let alone together in her bed; they also looked good on each other, she remembered, and she would've smiled except the pull on her face made her head hurt more.
They're also loud, even when they were trying to be quiet, hissing at each other, back to arguing. Simone cracked open one eye, wincing at the morning light, to glance at the two of them, Peter buttoning his jeans and glaring from under his disheveled hair, Isaac pulling his wifebeater over his head as he waved one hand towards her in the bed. "I'm not just gonna leave her alone—"
Oh, hell. "Yes you are," Simone said, and coughed, rolling over. "You're both loud, you're both hungover, and you're both going."
"But—" they said, simultaneously, and it was almost as funny as her head was throbbing. Almost.
She waved her hand in a shooing motion. "Go. And don't fight on the way out. I'll talk to you both later."
Thank God, they at least listened to her, trudging out, pausing in the living room for the rest of their clothes, while she shoved her face into her pillow, listened through the pounding in her temples, and didn't let herself whimper.
Peter sets Simone down on her doorstep, Isaac holding her hand across Peter's chest. She wobbles, the ground somehow too solid under her feet after the rush of the flight; her shoes are gone, her hair's a billow of tangles, and she really wants to fly again. Peter can fly, honest to God he can fly, and Simone has to wonder what else he can do. But she can find out later, she reminds herself, after she fixes her hair and finds another pair of shoes, after she decides whether or not to tell Nathan Petrelli that the supposedly helpless little brother he was searching for found her and saved her.
"I think that was even faster this time," Isaac says, smudging his hand across his tearing eyes. "Wish I had goggles."
"I think so, too." Peter looks at his hands with that dazed expression that people keep mistaking for stupidity. Simone used to, six months ago. Then he looks up at her with that little-boy smile. "I always feel like I can do anything…"
He falters, looking over at Isaac, who looks steadily back without glaring, his mouth pulling up into a half-smile. "When you're with Simone. So do I."
Maybe they can get along sometime when they're not both drunk and naked, after all. Simone laughs, and kisses Isaac and Peter in front of the whole street, because what the hell, this is New York City. She heads in, walking carefully in bare feet, rummaging up her door key, humming to herself in the elevator. Today redefined adventure, and she'll be glad to get home.
She opens her door, locks it again, turns—
— and only then sees the tall, neat, dark-haired man waiting for her, his hands clasped behind his back. What now? Simone grabs a lungful of air, but she can't scream, can't run, just can't move an inch.
The man smiles, wide and toothy as a shark. "Ms. Deveaux, it's so nice to meet you. My name is Sylar."