Rating: PG-13 by default
Season: One/AU after Fallout
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Notes: Damn if I haven't been writing this thing forever. I started this at about the same time I started 'Revelations'. It started out as a reference for me, kind of like 'One Year Lost', and became its own fic. Hopefully you'll enjoy it.
Summary: Jenny Yi always did know how to look out for herself. Leads up to 'Apocalypse'.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Charles Darwin
Jenny by SLynn
"One more year," she said to her friend, just visible through the bookshelf in the aisle next to hers. "One more year in this God-awful store. One more year of college. And I'm done. Done."
"You said that last year, Jenny."
"This year it's true," Jenny returned with a laugh.
"I mean it, Cassie," Jenny continued. "I'm done. I can finish this year. Finally be done with this stupid city and this stupid…"
"Jenny," she said in a hush, throwing her head to the side and indicating the man not too far down from where they were.
Jenny looked and rolled her eyes, putting two more books into place.
"So what?" she asked contemptuously. "I don't care if he hears me."
"He'll fire you."
"Let him," said Jenny definitely, but lowering her voice just the same. "It's not like I need this job."
"If you didn't need this job you wouldn't be here," Cassie returned.
Sighing, Jenny continued to stock the shelves, knowing it was true. She did need this job. Right now she was barely making ends meet between tuition and rent. It had been six years since she left home at the age of seventeen, getting as far away from her home town in California as was possible without leaving the United States. Six years she'd spent on her own, struggling but surviving.
If there was one thing Jenny knew how to do it was surviving.
Looking up again and seeing the manager was gone, Jenny looked through the shelf at Cassie.
"It's only temporary," she whispered. "All of this. One day… One day, all of this will have been worth it."
"Keep telling yourself that," Cassie said with a laugh.
"It's true," Jenny returned.
Jenny, still putting books away, paused and waited for the other woman to continue.
Through the gap in the shelf Jenny could see that Cassie was no longer working. She was standing now, books littering the ground around her feet.
"Cassie?" Jenny called, standing now herself and walking around to where the other woman stood. "What's going on?"
She didn't seem to hear her. Cassie moved wordlessly toward the store's television set by the cash register, and she wasn't alone. By the time Jenny got there herself, there was a small crowd gathered around it; much more than there usually was.
"We're coming to you live from Times Square," the reporter was saying, the winds so strong she could barely stand upright. "As you can see, we're experiencing some extreme weather, something our meteorologists can not account for. There have also been unconfirmed reports of explosions, tornadoes, hail, and falling debris."
"Deborah," the anchor at the station said over the live feed, "have you seen any of these phenomenons for yourself or are you strictly relying on eyewitness accounts."
"Could you repeat that, Hal," Deborah the reporter said, her hand pressed to her ear.
"Have you seen any of these events for yourself?" anchorman Hal asked again.
"Have I seen…" Deborah returned, the camera still on her as she looked about her in an almost daze; her long blond hair whipping about her face. "I have seen… I've seen… I've seen awful things. Awful. And it's not over. This is the beginning. This is only the beginning."
Jenny watched transfixed as the reporter, who moments before had seemed perfectly composed, cracked on live television.
It was surreal.
"Get out of the city!" Deborah the reporter screamed into the camera. "Get out while you can! This is it; this is what I've been seeing for months and months! Don't believe the lies they'll tell you! Don't believe anything they say! Nathan Pet--"
The feed cut back abruptly to the studio where Hal the anchorman sat behind a desk looking flummoxed.
"That was our on the street report Deborah Jennings," he said automatically. "I… I think we're experiencing some technical difficulties, but I would like to tell our viewers in the local area to stay indoors. Do not, I repeat, do not go outside. We are being told by local and state officials that the National Guard is on its way and a state of emergency has been declared with a curfew starting immediately."
There was a long pause as the man on the television shuffled some papers nervously, his hands visibly shaking as he turned to someone off screen for any indication of what to do next.
"Okay," Hal continued, clearing his throat. "As you can see on the map, the red spots are what are being considered the danger zones. That striped area is considered the epicenter of the disaster. I can not say this enough, but everyone in the local viewing area needs to remain indoors."
An image of a map of New York City was now shown, all of it in red. A smaller portion, toward the center of the city, appeared to be striped.
"Is this a joke?" Jenny asked weakly.
Cassie, at her side now, shook her head slowly as if in shock.
"We've just received some additional footage of the disaster areas," Hal went on, his face back on the screen. "Some of this might be graphic; we have not fully reviewed the tape yet… So, um… are we rolling?"
The video played after a brief pause.
It appeared to be an amateur video, not entirely steady, but clear enough. The first scene was of the water. At first, it didn't appear to be much of anything, until the camera panned across. Despite the calm waters, every single boat in the harbor had been flipped onto land. Not just flipped, smashed as if picked up and dropped from an enormous height.
The next scene was taken by the same camera, but this time traveling by car. The camera had obviously been stuck outside the window as the cameraman and his accomplice drove around the city. There were burnt out buildings, flooded sewers, sometimes just vacant lots where it appeared as if buildings had been ripped free.
Finally, the last scene was of what appeared to be a giant storm cloud hovering not far above the city itself. It didn't look real. There were flashes of lightning and claps of thunder, but it didn't move. The storm cloud was completely stationary until…
"Oh my God!" a woman who had been watching with them in the store shouted. "My God! That man is falling!"
"No he's not," Jenny returned, unable to keep her eyes off the scene as it unfolded. "He's flying. He's…"
But no sooner than the man was shown, hovering in mid-air, then the feed abruptly stopped and an extremely nervous looking Hal reappeared.
"We're being told now…" he began, only to be interrupted by a man off screen.
"End the transmission!"
Hal looked as if he didn't know what to do or say. He just sat there, shaking his head and staring off camera.
"Now!" the voice barked.
"We're doing it," another voice said, this time a woman. "We are. Just…"
The last thing they saw was a man dressed in what appeared to be a black SWAT team uniform, complete with an assault rifle, step in front of the camera and cover the lens with his hand.
The feed dissolved into static as Jenny turned and stared at Cassie in disbelief.
"Can this be real?"
"They arrested Tony."
"What?" nearly everyone said in unison.
"They arrested him," Cassie repeated, sitting down on the couch and looking close to tears. "They asked to see his identification while we were in line. He showed them, just like they asked, just like always and they arrested him. They wouldn't say why. They just took him and they wouldn't say why."
"They didn't give any reason at all?" Jenny asked.
"No," Cassie said, shaking her head. "None. And he didn't do anything. He…"
"Maybe they just wanted to talk to him," Michelle, another girl staying with them now, said. "Maybe there was a mistake and they're just trying to sort it out."
"I doubt that," Jenny returned.
In the aftermath of New York, several other large-scale disasters had occurred. First there was the destruction of Hover Dam, which had killed thousands, maybe more. No one knew for certain; no one could go in and check. Then there was the massive radiation leak across the mid-west, the damage of which no one could ever be certain of. Florida had been wiped out in one massive wave from the Atlantic and was now completely underwater. And those were just the events they could be sure of. There were rumors of volcanic activity, of massive earthquakes and tornados of immeasurable strength. Hurricanes ripping across the Atlantic in the opposite direction from which they normally occurred. Whispers of whole cities disappearing into the ground. Strange stories of the abnormal people who could do such things.
But that was only the half of it. Despair seemed to grip everyone. Crime was astronomically high. You couldn't go out by yourself even during the day. Going out at night, even escorted, was an act of insanity. Roving gangs of what were once everyday people prowled the streets. Murder and suicide were all one heard of anymore.
It was like the end of times.
The government was trying, of course, to restore order, but it was slow in coming. They had been just as affected, as caught off guard as everyone else had been. Martial law had long been in declared but had done little good because, at first, there had been no one left to enforce it.
But it was changing.
The first step had been the checkpoints. Once they'd gotten the military reorganized, checkpoints had been set up for everyone to come and register and receive a new identification card. Jenny and Cassie, along with their new friends Michelle, Tony and Carlos, had waited in line for four days to get theirs.
Having the cards meant having food. Only those with a card were issued any kind of provisions or offered any kind of help. They'd been using them for months now without any problems.
"Tony's never did anything wrong," Carlos argued to no one in particular. "Why would they…"
"Maybe they have information on his family," Michelle said hopefully. "Maybe…"
"Maybe they knew what he could do," Jenny interrupted.
"How could they know that?" Cassie asked.
Jenny shrugged, not sure herself.
"They can't," Carlos answered. "They can't know. And even if they did, it's like I said, Tony has never did anything wrong. He's not a threat. He's not like…"
He trailed off, not certain what Tony was like. Not certain what he'd been about to say. Tony had been different, they'd all known that. He'd confided in them all about the strange power he had, fearful that his new friends might turn their backs on him because of it.
Jenny got up and moved towards the window considering the future.
"We need to get out of the city."
"Why?" Jenny asked in return without looking up from her book.
"Why?" Cassie repeated completely dumbstruck. "Jenny, are you serious?"
"Of course I am," Jenny said. "Why would we leave? Things have just now gotten good again."
It was true. Washington D.C. might be the only place it was true for, but it didn't matter. The city was functioning again, thanks to the United Order. More than functioning, it was thriving. Shops were open again; even a few restaurants. There were jobs. They could work and earn their own way without relying on the provisions. It was safe and back to normal. Better than normal in Jenny's opinion.
"I don't believe you," Cassie said sitting on the edge of the couch.
"Jenny," she said, sounding slightly afraid. "You can't… Don't you see what's happening here? Don't you…"
"What I see is a government struggling to rebuild. What I see is a country in chaos and finally a man willing to step up and do something."
"They're rounding people up…"
"They're rounding up criminals," Jenny interrupted.
"Tony wasn't a criminal," Cassie fired back, determined to make her friend remember.
They didn't talk about him any more. They hadn't talked about Tony or Michelle or Carlos since Jenny had convinced Cassie to leave several months back. She'd considered it long and hard, but ultimately decided it was the only way. They'd been a burden.
"You don't know that."
"I…" Cassie stammered. "I can't believe you're saying that. You know…"
"He was one of them," Jenny practically hissed.
"And that's enough?"
"Yes," she bit back. "It is. To be one is enough. It is criminal. It's…"
Jenny stopped short of saying 'unfair' but they both knew what she'd meant.
"It'll be over soon anyway," Jenny said after a long pause. "There can't be many of them and once they're taken care of, it'll be over. Things will be just like they were. You'll see. You'll see."
She'd waited in line for six days to be seen; Jenny would have waited longer. She really needed this job.
"Fill these out."
Jenny nodded gratefully, taking the offered papers with a weak smile as she was ushered to her seat inside the small office.
"Do you have any qualifications?" the woman asked, not even looking at her as she logged onto her computer and began furiously typing.
"I was a political science major in college," Jenny offered weakly, not sure if it would help or hurt her at this point. There had to be a thousand people wanting this job, but none of them needed it the same way she did.
"You have a degree?" the woman asked, looking up briefly from her task.
"No," she admitted. "I was a year out from it when…"
"That's fine," she assured her, waving her off even. "It's not required."
"The job doesn't entail much," she continued. "It's just answering phones really. Occasionally greeting people, but nothing too strenuous."
"Like a receptionist?"
Jenny filled out the papers as quickly as she could, feeling her luck start to change. The woman across from her was hard to read but Jenny certainly felt like things were going her way.
Waiting politely, Jenny smiled again when the woman finally looked back to her and took the papers back. She quickly skimmed them before setting them down on the desk.
"Do you have proper identification?"
"Yes," Jenny said quickly, pulling the ID card out of her purse. "I registered as soon as the stations were open in my neighborhood."
Taking the card from her the woman turned back to her monitor not bothering to hide the fact that she was running Jenny through the system.
"Well Ms. Yi," she said after a long pause. "You are definitely the most qualified for the position. You're almost too qualified to be honest. I'm sorry we don't have anything better for you, but it's a start."
"Yes," Jenny agreed quickly, almost laughing with relief.
"It's entry level," the woman said, smiling for the first time now herself, "and it really isn't anything more than what I've said, but hard work gets promoted quickly nowadays, especially where you'll be working."
"I won't be here?" Jenny asked.
"No. No, you'll be in the main office."
"The main…" Jenny trailed off, wondering if that really meant what she thought it did.
"Yes," the woman nodded, looking away from her in a bit of rush. "The job is for the main office. That's not a problem, is it?"
"No," Jenny said quickly. "No, not at all. I'm honored…"
"Good," the woman said briskly. "You can start on Monday. Report to the main gate at eight and they'll take it from there."
"Thank you so much," Jenny said, meaning it sincerely, as she rose to her feet. "I can't even… thank you. This is exactly what I was hoping for…"
"I'm glad to help," she returned shaking her hand almost reluctantly, still sitting behind her desk and barely looking her way.
"Bet you thought you'd never be doing this, right?" Jenny said, so overjoyed that she couldn't stop smiling.
"What do you mean?" the woman returned with a bemused smile.
"Well, you know," Jenny shrugged. "You got a law degree from Georgetown and now you're --"
"How did you know that?"
The woman was standing now, looking alarmed.
"How did you know I went to Georgetown?"
"You didn't tell me?"
"No," she repeated. "I didn't tell you. Is this… Did someone send you here? Did someone…"
"No," Jenny said quickly, confused and alarmed. "I thought you told me. I was sure of it. I… I…"
Jenny looked around the room in alarm. She'd been certain she'd seen a photograph of the college hanging on the wall or on the desk. She'd seen it so clearly. It had to have been real.
"I didn't tell you."
"I don't know what to say," Jenny said quickly. "I really don't. It must have been a guess. I must have just thought you said it or I was thinking of someone else. I swear, I don't know… I don't know how else to explain…"
"It's alright," the woman said, trying to calm both Jenny and herself down at once. "It is. I just… I didn't tell you that, but you're probably right. Probably just a coincidence, right? It was, wasn't it?"
"Yes," Jenny agreed. "It was. It had to be."
"I'm sorry if I…"
"No, it's fine. Don't worry about it, it's fine. Just…good luck with your new job, Ms. Yi. Don't forget, Monday morning."
"Thank you," Jenny said, heading to the door. "Thank you so much Ms. Hanson."
"Don't mention it."
She'd moved up quickly, much as she'd expected. Jenny always found a way to work the system. She was good at it.
Jenny had started off at the switchboard before moving on to the main reception desk and then finally to the executive offices. She'd always understood the art of flattery and of pleasing, and most especially of knowing who needed to be pleased.
Her ambitions were all modest, for the moment. It was an uncertain world and Jenny just wanted some security in it. And, really, if you weren't secure working twenty feet from the most powerful man in the world, when were you?
"Good morning Ms. Yi."
"Good morning Mrs. Petrelli," she returned with a bright smile. "How are you today?"
"Oh, you know," Mrs. Petrelli said with half a smile. "I'm well."
Jenny nodded and an odd sensation washed over her. It was like a wave of sadness punctuated with a vivid image of two fresh-faced little boys that would never age inside her head.
"I'm sorry," Jenny said, snapping back to her surroundings in an instant.
"Looks like you need some more coffee," Mrs. Petrelli said kindly, but Jenny couldn't get past the ache in her eyes.
"You're probably right," she lied. "It's been a long morning already and it's only nine. I really don't know how Mr. Petrelli does it, the hours he keeps. I'm exhausted just thinking about it."
"You don't fool me," she returned. "You keep just as long of hours as my husband, and probably with a lot less thanks, but I know he appreciates you. So do I. You do a wonderful job here. He'd be lost with out you."
"It's a pleasure, really. After all he's done; I'm the one that should be grateful."
Mrs. Petrelli only smiled in return, and this time the sadness was coupled with a hint of anger.
"Is he in?" she asked.
"And expecting you," Jenny said cheerfully. "Go right in."
Jenny watched her leave, letting out a great sigh of relief when she was finally gone. It was overwhelming; the feelings and images had been so overwhelming.
She didn't know what was wrong with her.
"Jenny?" Cassie asked, but met with no answer.
For a moment she stood in the doorway, uncertain, before finally making her way into the still darkened room.
"Are you alright?"
"My head…" Jenny said weakly from where she sat on the bed. "It just… I feel so sick. Like I might… It's nothing. It'll pass."
"Are you sure? Maybe you should…"
"Who am I going to ask for help? Who? No one… There's no one to ask. I can't risk it. I just can't."
"Jenny," Cassie said quietly, finally taking her place beside her. "Jenny, maybe it's time we considered going. I know things seem better to you but…"
"Things are better," Jenny argued.
"I know," Cassie said quickly. "I do, but you're not well. Your office called for you again today and I can't keep coming up with excuses, Jenny. Sooner or later they're going to send someone over to see what's wrong with you for themselves. They're not just going to stop calling or stop wondering, Jenny, that's not how they work. We shouldn't be here when that happens. We should get as far away as we can. Now. We can go tonight."
"You're talking crazy."
"Jenny, they're going to find out."
"Find out what?"
Cassie shook her head, frustrated by Jenny's level of denial.
"Find out about you," she finally said. "They're going to find out what you can do and then they'll take you away."
"I don't know…"
"Stop it!" Cassie shouted, truly angry now. "I know, alright. I know. You don't have to lie to me or pretend that this isn't real. Ignoring it will not make it go away, Jenny, you are one of them!"
"I'm not!" Jenny spat back, standing abruptly and wheeling on her friend at her side. "I'm not! You don't know what you're saying! You don't know anything!"
"You've never known anything," Jenny boomed, her voice deeper than before; a thousand images rushed across her mind, shuffling wildly without reason or control.
"Stop," Cassie said weakly as she slid off the bed to the floor, clutching her head in her hands. "Stop, please. Stop."
"You've always been a disappointment," Jenny continued, unable to stop despite her friend's pleas. "To your mother. Your sisters. To me."
Cassie looked up in horror, shaking her head violently at what had been Jenny moments ago; where her father stood now.
"Stop," she muttered. "Stop, please. I can't… It hurts. You're hurting me, stop. Stop."
Snapping to, Jenny gasped as she staggered backwards. Disconnecting whatever connection she had unwittingly forged. Shaking with adrenaline and fear at what she'd seen and done.
"Cassie," Jenny said after a long pause, leaning down next to her and talking low. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to do that. I don't know how I did. I'd never hurt you. Never. I'm so, so sorry. Please… please don't hate me. Please."
"I know," Cassie said, speaking with obvious strain. "I know you wouldn't. You just haven't figured it out yet. I know you'd never do that on purpose, Jenny. You don't have to apologize. It's fine. I'm fine. But this is why, Jenny. This is why we have to leave. You can't stay here. They'll find you. They'll figure it out, and when they do, Jenny…"
"You're right," Jenny readily agreed. "You're right. I know you are. We'll go. We'll go as soon as we can."
"It's so cold."
"But it's so cold," Jenny whined, pulling her blanket up higher towards her chin.
"What do you expect?" Cassie returned sharply. "There's no electricity; there's no fire. Of course it's cold."
"I don't know."
"Then stop complaining," Cassie admonished. "You should be glad we have a roof overhead."
"We should have never left."
Cassie ignored her, too tired and cold herself to listen to Jenny's moans. Jenny turned her head away in disgust, angry past the point of arguing. But she was right, they should have never left.
They'd left almost as soon as Cassie had convinced Jenny to go. Left without a plan, without a thought, without even an idea of what would happen next.
So far they'd been extremely lucky. The first people they had stumbled across in their new life as outsiders were friendly enough. A small group of people, like themselves, that moved about the countryside escaping detection as best as they could.
There was little food, little information and a lot of fear amongst them.
It was an awful existence, but as Cassie continuously reminded her, at least they were continuing to exist.
Jenny agreed, but only just. This was hardly anyway to live.
Jenny couldn't see how they could continue on in this fashion. She couldn't see why most of the people they met did. So far she was the only one deemed a real outsider. She was the only one with any kind of abnormal power or problem. The rest of them were just ordinary people; fools. Why were they here, living on the outskirts of society, if they didn't have to be?
It was a question she asked herself all the time, but never aloud. Jenny was afraid to ask that particular question aloud. Terrified that Cassie might begin to wonder that about herself. After all, Cassie didn't have any reason to run. Cassie was free to go back to society, back among the Order, if she really wanted to. She only stayed because of Jenny.
Jenny was grateful, but she didn't understand it. If their circumstances were reversed…
The silence was broken by the shuffle of nearby footsteps. Two of the men that were apart of their group now jumped swiftly to their feet and out the door to see who it might be at so late an hour. Those left behind exchanged worried glances.
There was always the fear of capture. There was always the rumor of torture and confinement for those who chose to go against the Order. There was always the tension and terror of moments like this.
Each strained to listen, ready to run if necessary. Cassie reached over and squeezed Jenny's hand in a show of support. Jenny, her own hand trembling beneath the pressure, was already planning her escape.
But it was all unwarranted. There was laughter outside and soon the two who had left returned with a third man, an older man with a good-natured look about him and a friendly smile.
Jenny watched him for a few moments out of curiosity. He'd sat down now, across the room, talking with the men who had escorted him inside, and otherwise ignored the rest of them.
She thought it was just as well. Jenny didn't know why, but despite his appearance, she thought that this man might be dangerous.
He was back again. Over the past couple of months he'd come and gone several times over, almost as if he was feeling them out. Jenny didn't like him. Not one bit. There was something off about this man, something she couldn't quite define. Perhaps it was because she couldn't pick information out of his head as she could everyone else. Maybe it was because he was 'special'.
She really didn't know, but it didn't matter. Jenny had decided that Henry Jacobs was dangerous, and she wanted nothing to do with him. The second night he'd rejoined them proved Jenny right.
"I've got an offer for you," he said slowly, talking to the whole group with ease, "for those of you interested. A place to go."
"There's nowhere left to go," a young man who had joined them only a few days earlier mumbled from the corner.
Jenny turned and looked at him. He hardly seemed to be paying attention, only pausing briefly to meet her gaze before returning to scribbling madly on a notepad.
"Freak," Jenny said under her breath to Cassie, rolling her eyes as she turned back to main event.
"Be nice," Cassie fired back in a soft whisper.
Cassie said nothing more, only looked her disapproval. She'd been doing that more and more lately, Jenny had noticed, but there was nothing to be done about it. Jenny couldn't help her moods.
"What colony?" a man was asking, drawing back Jenny's attention.
"It's up north," Jacobs answered. "A place outside the Order for people who dislike what's been happening lately."
"You mean people like you," Jenny called out.
"No," Jacobs returned, looking at her significantly. "People like us."
Jenny glared at him but said no more.
"Where is it?" another woman asked eagerly.
"Trenton," Jacobs supplied, before continuing on in that matter.
Jenny couldn't take it any more and got to her feet and left in a hurry.
"What is wrong with you?" Cassie asked almost as soon as they'd gotten outside.
"Nothing," Jenny sighed, shaking her head and pacing before the door.
"Nothing?" Cassie fired back. "That man is offering us a place to live and…"
"He's offering us a joke," Jenny interrupted.
Cassie sighed, dropping her head in exasperation.
"It's a joke," Jenny continued. "You really think he's got some city set up outside the Order?"
"Because it would be a huge target," Jenny answered, shocked at her friend's naivety. "The Order wouldn't allow it. They'd go after it. Destroy it. I told you, we're better off lying low on our own. The two of us can go undetected, but an entire colony? No. No, it's a deathtrap."
"You can't know that," Cassie said bitterly.
Jenny and Cassie both turned to the young man who, having finally put away his notepad, had joined them outside.
"It's a deathtrap," he repeated, rubbing his eyes as he stared off into the night. "But then again, everything is. It's all… everything is death. It's the only way. It's everywhere."
"See," Jenny said sarcastically. "He agrees with me."
"Jenny," Cassie said, looking at the ground and shaking her head.
"So where should we go?" Jenny asked with mocking seriousness. "Where to now?"
"I'm going south," the man answered. "They all want to go north, but south… I'm going south. To Florida. Yeah. That's where I'll go. Saint Augustine. It's the oldest city in America, or so they say. I'd like to see it."
"Well, Florida is under water so, good luck with that," Jenny said, smilingly.
"Thank you," he answered sincerely. "I'll have luck enough, I'm sure. For awhile. Until…"
He stopped, giving her a look that was almost accusing, before turning abruptly to Cassie and offering her a hand to shake. To Jenny's surprise, Cassie took it with a great deal of warmth.
"Thank you," he returned, turning to Jenny and offering her a hand as well.
Jenny shook hands with him, which was much more than she'd planned on doing, and without thinking it would do her any harm, stole a peak inside his head. She'd begun practicing now and thought she was getting good.
What she saw was too terrifying for her to comprehend.
Jenny stood mutely as the man continued to hold onto her hand; as if he knew what she'd done and saw and was watching for her reaction.
"Jenny?" Cassie called out, her voice sounding slightly alarmed.
"What…" Jenny started to ask, staring back into the man's eyes fearfully.
"You don't really want to know," he answered, letting go of her hand as he turned away. "But you'll find out. One day. You won't be able to stop yourself. You just won't. I hope… I hope we don't meet again. But we will. I've already written it down. We will and I'm so sorry… I'm so sorry for what you'll become."
"I can't do this anymore."
"Can't do what?" Jenny asked, not even looking up from book she'd been reading.
"I'm going to Trenton."
Jenny didn't just look, she stared.
She'd known it was coming, felt it for some time now, but it was still a surprise.
"I'm going to Trenton and I'm going to find that colony. I should have left with everyone else but…"
"Why would you do that?" Jenny asked bitterly. "We talked about this… We decided…"
"No, you decided," Cassie interjected. "You always decide, Jenny. I wanted to go. I wanted to get away from this. It's dangerous here."
"I'm crazy?" Cassie bit back. "Me? No. No, I'm the only one of us thinking straight. This place is dangerous. God, don't you get where it's headed? Don't you see what will happen? What's to come?"
"What? You can tell the future now?"
"I don't have to do that," Cassie argued. "I've read about the past."
"Please," Jenny said dismissively, tossing the book aside as she strode across the room in an angry huff.
"They patrol the streets, Jenny," Cassie continued, growing nearly hysterical. "They monitor everyone. They control everything and they're taking people away, for what?"
"They're taking away dangerous --"
"You're one of them!"
"No I'm not!" Jenny shouted back, taking a moment to recover her composure. "I'm not. I was stupid to let you talk me into leaving. That was a mistake. I'm not one of them. I can't be. I've seen the lists; I know who they're looking for. I panicked, because of you and now…"
"Jenny," she sighed.
"I never should have let you tag along in the first place."
Cassie just shook her head in astonishment.
"I thought I was being nice; doing the right thing."
"I let you come with me," Cassie objected, matching Jenny in bitterness.
"Doesn't matter now," Jenny said sternly. "I'm done with you. Go off to Trenton. Have fun with your new society, but I guarantee it won't last. You'll see. One day, it'll all fall in around you. The Order is too big to hide from. They'll crush you. They'll crush you all."
"They'll get you too," Cassie returned. "Jenny, you can't pretend forever. They'll find you. You can't run forever."
"I don't intend to."
"What's her name again?"
"Yi," the man answered. "Jenny Yi. She used to work here. Sullivan took her place. Remember?"
"No," Mac returned without a hint of feeling.
"Well, I do," Taylor said. "She was nice. Kind of quiet, but friendly. And then out of the blue…"
Taylor stared through the two-way mirror at the young woman who looked so alone and frightened. She had no one else in the world, and she'd come back because she trusted the Order. She'd trusted them to do the right thing by her.
"What's she do?" Mac asked.
"She says she's not sure," Taylor answered. He'd interviewed her for the past hour without much success. She'd been forthcoming enough, but she was obviously intimidated.
"Ship her off with the rest then," Mac offered. "They'll sort her out later."
"We can't do that."
"Why the hell not?"
"Because," Taylor began, uncertain himself what the answer was. "Because she could be useful."
"She doesn't look useful."
"You never know."
Mac shrugged. He didn't care one way or another, but knew someone who would.
"You'll have to get her approved," he said, suddenly with a lot more seriousness in his voice. "That won't be easy."
Taylor nodded, knowing the truth of it. It wouldn't be easy at all.
It had taken a little over a month to secure the meeting. It was time Jenny needed. She still didn't have a firm grasp on what she could do, or why, but she was getting better.
Taylor was a huge help. When she'd met him before she'd had no idea how valuable he'd turn out to be. He was kind, understanding and supportive. He was also a fool, which only made Jenny like him more. He was easy to manipulate, easy to guide. He would be her cover, and if need be, her out.
Still, no matter how well she prepared or planned, everything depended upon this meeting. If she couldn't convince Nathan Petrelli that she was a valuable asset, none of it would make a difference. Her fate was completely in his hands.
She sat, waiting once more in that awful interrogation room with its observation mirror, simultaneously dreading the moment and basking in it.
Finally, the door opened and in he walked, alone, taking a seat across from her.
"Well, Jenny, this is a surprise. You went out to get me coffee almost a year ago and just never came back," Nathan said. He spoke in jest, but his eyes told a different story.
"Mr. Petrelli," she began, speaking softly. "I'm very sorry…"
"I'm not interested in apologies," he interrupted. "I've been told you can be of use. I have someone new fetching me coffee, so I hope you can do better than that."
"I can," Jenny stammered. "I mean, I hope I can. I know how you feel about… I know you dislike people…"
"You know how I feel?" Nathan interrupted, obviously angry this time. "Is that what you do? Because, you're not very good if that's all you've come up with."
"No," Jenny said quickly, realizing things were rapidly deteriorating. "No, that's not… I just meant by your reputation. I didn't mean to imply that I know exactly what… I mean… I don't…"
Nathan looked pointedly at the mirror with mild disgust.
"Listen," Nathan said, reigning in his annoyance just a bit. "I'm going to give you a second chance, here. You've worked for me before and did well enough. The staff liked you, Taylor likes you. Normally, that's not enough, but my wife seems to like you as well. Plus, you came back to us. That shows faith and loyalty. I reward loyalty, Jenny. But unless you can show me what you do, my hands are tied. Do you understand me?"
"So?" Nathan asked, leaning back and waiting.
"On you?" Jenny asked, hesitating to begin.
"Is there any one else in the room?"
"Okay," Jenny breathed.
She paused, preparing herself. Shutting her eyes, she willed it to happen. Jenny had never wanted anything more. Up until now she'd hated her powers. They weren't a gift, they were a curse. A curse that could get her killed. They'd been a burden, of no use but as a distraction. But now they could be the one thing that saved her.
"Are you done?" Nathan asked, getting to his feet.
"Wait," Jenny called out, helpless.
She couldn't make it work. Jenny didn't know why, but she couldn't do it. Now, when she needed it most, needed it to survive, she couldn't make it happen.
"I'm sorry this didn't work out," Nathan said quickly, hand already on the door. "I don't know what you did to get them to believe you, but obviously --"
He stopped midsentence, turning slowly on the spot at those words. Not just the words, the voice they were spoken with.
"You have to believe me," Peter said, standing in Jenny's place.
Almost as soon as Nathan registered his presence, he was gone. Jenny was back, standing there, pleading in his place. He was almost too shocked to speak.
"Please, Mr. Petrelli," she said again. "I know I can do it. I just need some time. I need…"
Nathan motioned for her to stop, shaking his head to clear it. He felt sick to his stomach, but that wasn't all.
"I think…" he began, almost sounding weak himself. "I think we can find a place for you here."
"Really?" Jenny asked, not knowing what she'd done to change his mind. "Oh, thank you. Thank you so much, sir. You won't regret this."
Nathan nodded, pushing the feelings of guilt and uneasiness aside.
"You really won't," she repeated earnestly.