Foolish Games

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I decided it was time to do some Elle/Peter interaction that took place in the present timeline. R/R if you think it works.

Elle thinks if nothing else good comes of these unauthorized visits she at least gets good use out of these new flannel pajamas she bought. Winters in New York are as equally cold as they are long. Elle decides she might as well be dressed appropriately if she's going to break the rules. She can't resist though. She knows he'll come back to this place sooner or later. The Company's made sure no one has recently rented Peter Petrelli's vacant apartment so that it's nice, shiny bait for him. Elle wouldn't understand the attraction. She hates her home now that Peter's gone because now more than ever she realizes it's also her prison. That's why she sneaks away some nights and comes to his apartment. She tells herself she's just being a good girl, a company girl, and doing surveillance. The truth is that she wants Peter to herself and always has since the moment she saw him.

"So pretty," whispers Elle as she looks at a picture of Peter and his brother, Nathan. They're both handsome but Peter has that extra special spark that sucks Elle in. She thinks maybe it's his eyes but she can't really say. It's everything. Elle sighs as she feels a pain inside her and tosses the picture on Peter's bed. There's not much for her to do here. She doesn't work well with electronic devices so watching TV is out. She's tried reading some of Peter's medical books but they're too boring. The only real thing she can do is wait for him. Elle hates waiting for things.

"This funny thing happened while I was in Ireland," says a disembodied voice. Elle jumps at the surprise, feeling her heart leap up into her throat as she squeaks.

"I fall madly in love with this girl and somehow her brother gets struck by lightning while indoors," explains Peter, "And this is on the same night another girl comes looking for me." Elle still can't see him but she knows he's here. Peter's finally come back to play with her again and she feels like the happiest girl in the world.

"It's a small world after all," sings Elle with a grin. She doesn't like this little game. Hide-and-seek is so boring because she always wins. People can't hide from Elle. She can tell where they are by the lightning that's living in them. At least that's the theory. Elle doesn't really know or care. She just knows she always wins at hide-and-seek.

"Do you really think this is a game?" asks Peter, "Ricky was like a brother to me."

"Sourpuss," pouts Elle as an arc of electricity snakes from her hand to connect with dead air that soon shimmers as Peter fades back into existence, "I kept this place nice and clean so you'd come back. Everything's a game, Petey."

"Not this time," assures Peter as he quickly gets back to his feet, whatever wounds he had now completely gone. He told Adam there was a personal matter he had to address. He put two and two together and realized Elle was the girl who had killed Caitlin's brother. He knew Elle would be here or some place of equal significance to him. He knows all the games she enjoys playing.

"You shouldn't have run away," says Elle as she shocks Peter again, "You ruined our games, Petey. I was having fun with you!" She's angry at him, angry at him for teasing her with the hope of having something good and then yanking that hope away from her. She wants him to suffer for it. Peter takes the lightning in stride. The bad part is that he can't use any of his other powers while he's got his healing factor switched on. Elle knows this and she suddenly moves to press against him and pin him to a wall.

"Better settle in, tiger," coos Elle as Peter tries to raise his hands to fight but she pins them to the wall with her own, "It's gonna be a long night." Elle hits Peter hard with a double shock, one from each hand, and smiles in delight as he screams. She hits him with another and as he screams she presses her mouth against his so she can taste his pain. She'll teach him not to leave her again. She'll teach him not to rip her heart out.

"Having fun?" asks Elle with a wicked grin as she watches Peter's body magically recover from his wounds. She's so mesmerized by it that her grip loosens slightly. Peter takes advantage of that and shifts into a different power. His grip becomes as tight as steel as he quickly reverses positions with Elle, slamming her up against the wall with enough force to make his point without injuring her.

"Caitlin swore she was gonna kill you," hisses Peter, "Maybe I'll do it for her." Elle doesn't like this game now. She liked it much better when Peter was a cuddly teddy bear with no teeth. She liked it better when his eyes weren't so cold and hard. She liked it better when looking at Peter wasn't like staring into a mirror.

"I hurt you, you hurt me," explains Elle, "It's all part of the game." She sees the anger in his eyes suddenly flare up into madness and one of his hands clamps around her throat. Elle's starting to get scared now, really scared. She knows he has a laundry list of abilities that he could easily use to kill her. One squeeze with his super strength could crush her windpipe and end their games forever before she even has the chance to hit him with a jolt of lightning. That would be her best way of dying. The worst would be if Peter went nuclear and burned her to a crisp or blew her into tiny Elle bits. Peter's thinking the same thing she is right now and he's desperately trying not to think about Ted Sprague and that's fine because the only thing he can think of now is Caitlin and how this girl in front of him took something away from the woman he still loves.

"Listen to me," says Peter coldly as he stares into Elle's eyes, "There's a new rule for this game. Never come near anyone I care about ever again. Do you understand?" He sees something now in Elle's eyes, sees something past the curtain that she uses to keep everyone else out. She's scared. She's not in control anymore and it scares the living hell out of her. Peter can feel her trembling and struggles to remind himself why he's here. He swears he can see a tear roll down her cheek.

"You win," whimpers Elle, "I don't wanna play anymore." Peter takes this as the only answer he'll get and lets her go. Elle crumples into the corner, hugging herself and crying. Somehow, she broke her new toy. She was angry at Peter but Peter was angrier at her. Everyone always leaves her. All the things she loves get broken because of her and her stupid abilities. Elle enjoys inflicting pain on people because for one brief moment she gets to stop the hurting and everyone else gets to feel what it's like to suffer.

"Just go away!" snaps Elle as Peter stands there watching her cry, "I said you won. Just go away!" Peter stands there equally as dumbfounded as he is wary. He's seen firsthand how Elle manipulates people with her childlike behavior in order to get what she wants. He knows she's a master at playing games and making all the right moves. Yet Peter can't fully believe that the little girl crying in the corner in front of him is the same giggling sadist who used to playfully zap him at every possible opportunity. Elle sobs so much she starts hiccupping and that only makes her cry more. Peter stands there and watches before tentatively kneeling down and reaching out his hand to gently stroke her hair. He came here tonight with vengeance and retribution on his mind but Peter Petrelli knows he's not that man. He forgot that Elle is like a child and, if watching Nathan raise his boys has taught him anything, Peter understands that sometimes children just don't know any better. You have to teach them the right way to do things and you can't teach it to them with violence.

"I'm sorry," says Elle in between hiccups, "I just . . . everybody leaves and . . . and then you and . . . I miss you." She wants to tell him more. She wants to tell him about the butterflies and the tingly feeling and how she can't stop thinking about him and hurting when she does so. She thinks maybe, just maybe, if she keeps on babbling he might just stay this time.

"I'm sorry too," whispers Peter as he keeps running his fingers through her hair. His touch makes her feel warm and fuzzy. She likes not having to play games or worry about who's causing the pain this time. She likes just being here with Peter and feeling that tingly, electric touch of his that lights her up with happiness.

"Life's not a game, Elle," says Peter sternly.

"But it could be," whispers Elle as she suddenly looks up at him. She wants to see her broken toy freshly repaired and ready to play with but for the first time when she looks at Peter she doesn't even see a toy. She just sees a man, a very handsome and nice man with very sad eyes. No more toys, no more games, and no more pain. She has to take this chance. Elle kisses Peter, kisses him with a kiss that just says "I love you". It's not the playful kiss of a child, the seductive kiss of a vixen, or the angry kiss of a woman scorned. It's just a nice, soft, gentle kiss that Peter returns and Elle finds herself melting into.

"Peter," says Elle in a voice that fits her age more than her usual tone, "Peter, I think I . . ." He presses a finger to her lips and suddenly she forgets the rest of her sentence.

"People aren't toys, Elle," says Peter as he moves to leave, "You can't break them and expect something to magically fix them." Elle frowns and feels herself slipping back into childishness. It's not fair. It's so tragically and horribly unfair.

"Can we play again some time?" she asks hopefully as she trails after Peter like a lost puppy while he opens the window.

"I can't love you, Elle," explains Peter, "Not right now after what you did." She feels like crying again. He's the only thing she's wanted in a long time and now she understands completely that she may never be able to have him.

"What about . . . later?" asks Elle hopefully. Peter looks at her and tries to figure out if they're just playing another game but there's no deception in her eyes. It's just a question asked by a lonely girl in pain who wants someone to believe in.

"Maybe some day," admits Peter, "You have to learn new games though. No more killing or hurting people, Elle."

"I can try," whispers Elle as Peter climbs out onto the ledge.

"Later, alligator," says Peter as he turns towards her and then falls off the ledge. Elle smiles in wonder as Peter falls up instead of down, flying off into the night.

"After while, crocodile," finishes Elle as she closes the window, "Thanks for playing with me." She looks around at the mess they made of Peter's apartment. She decides she'll clean it up tomorrow morning before she leaves. With a very large yawn, Elle decides to go to bed. She snuggles up under the covers of Peter's bed and clutches the photo of him to her chest. As her eyes start to close, Elle begins to imagine all the fun new games she and Peter will play when he finally comes back to her.