Title: The Aristocrats

Rating: Call it a hard T.

Disclaimer: The entirety of this story is set in the not-too-distant future of the "Heroes" Universe... therefore, when it varies from established or future continuity, just assume that time has been changed again Hiro or Peter or... oh, let's say... Matt.

Special prizes for anyone who gets what the title is a reference to.

Prologue

When the overly-chipper knocking on the door finally came, Peter Petrelli had been legally dead for six months this time. Still, he was only surprised that it took them this long.

He turned to face the door, but made no effort, telekinetic or otherwise to answer it. There was no use pretending he wasn't there, but he didn't have to make things easy for them, either.

"You know, the last guy to live here as a nuclear bomb, so... you really need to think about the message you're sending."

"If you're here to fight, I'm going to remind you that my brain enables me to calculate one hundred and thirty eight different responses for every action you take, including taking a step and breathing... so I've already won this fight a billion times over in my head," Peter called over despondently.

"I'm not here to fight," Elle replied coyly as she slid into the minimal light.

"Well, I can't imagine why else anyone would come here," Peter muttered.

Elle very slowly closed the distance between them. "You can't?" she asked, her tone clumsily seductive as usual.

Peter turned his face downward. "You want me to tell you again about the time I overheard my mother say that my DNA was the most valuable substance on Earth."

Elle shrugged. "You really have to accept that when you're the single most powerful man on the planet," she pointed out.

"Well, I ripped the head off the second most powerful man, used your Dad's power to turn it in solid lead, then buried it in the desert in case he could heal that... so, you see where power gets you."

Elle wrapped her arms around his neck lightly. "Well, I can safely say I'm not looking to have kids. Ick."

Peter still wasn't in the mood. "What's this really about, Elle?"

Elle gave an exasperated sigh and disengaged from him. God, she hated it when she had to get to the point. "With the Company gone, there's a power-vacuum. No one's dealing with the rogue powers out on the street."

Peter set his jaw hard. "I'm not going to work for the Company."

"I'm not asking you to work for it," she clarified. "I'm asking you to run it."

This struck Peter as a good time to look at her like she was crazy. "What?"

"You, me, and whoever else you still think we can trust," she explained. "We're not going public, we're not trying to change the world. We're just policing our own."

Peter look at her in frank disbelief. "Elle, every time I try to do something with these powers, someone I love gets hurt. Nathan, Simone, Caitlin... I got Claire raped, do you understand that?"

"Well, she wasn't technically raped and it was technically you," Elle said, trying to be comforting, but failing by virtue of being Elle.

"Just get the hell out," Peter growled.

Feeling that the conversation was over, Peter turned away from her.

"God," Elle shook her head. "How much sympathy can you really have for someone with superpowers?"

Peter kept his silence.

"Okay, fine," Elle mocked, "you want to play the martyr, I won't bother pointing out how many people you saved along the way."

She took a moment to get right into his face. "But I will point out there are a thousand other people out there looking to do as much damage as you have... more if any of Mohinder's stupid formula survived... and if you're looking to balance out some of the damage you did when completely destroyed the only organization keeping them in line, you'd better come with me now."

Still Peter remained motionless.

Elle rolled her eyes. "If, on the other hand, you just want to punish yourself over and over again for a bunch honest mistakes, then bringing these people in is probably the best way to get yourself hurt or even killed out there."

Peter closed his eyes for a minute or so.

"Okay," he finally decided.

Elle watched as he grabbed his coat and handed it to him. "Boy, Mommy really did a number on you, didn't she?"