A Note From Lara: I am SO sorry that this has taken so long to get out! My writing and reading schedules have been so out of whack with college applications and scholarship applications and Calculus (which is WRECKING my GPA, thanks for asking) and my friend being hospitalized... it's just been hectic.
Still not 100 percent sure where I'm going with this one. I have a few vague ideas, the catalyst for which is going to be introduced next chapter- I think you'll recognize him- but nothing absolutely concrete. As a result, I'd absolutely love to hear your suggestions.
Lexie fumbled with her keys for a few minutes, then let out an irritated groan and gave up. Keys hated her- always had. She could not make a door open up with any kind of ease for the life of her. She elected to just phase right through the wall instead.
A pleasant surprise waited for her on the other side. "Jimmy!" she exclaimed, greeting her twin. "I thought you and Mom didn't get back until Thursday!"
He shook his head. "Nah, her last symposium thingy got canceled, so we decided to come home a few days early."
Lexie grinned. "That is awesome," she said. "Having you halfway across the continent has been bumming me out."
James ruffled his sister's hair affectionately; like all Petrelli siblings, it seemed, the two were remarkably close. As twins, they bore a marked resemblance to each other, both miniature versions of their father. However, Lexie had inherited their mother's wheat-colored locks, while James' hair was as dark as Peter's.
"Yeah, yeah," he said, trying to conceal a grin. "You're needy, you know that?"
She slapped at his hand and danced away into the interior of the apartment. "Whatever you say, bro. Is Mom home?" she called from the living room, where she slung her coat haphazardly across the back of the sofa.
"No, she had to go down to the hospital to deal with something or other with the new microsurgery equipment," James said, following her.
"You mean that thing Micah invented?"
"And sold to Synchron MedTech for like a jillion dollars? Yeah, that's it."
Lexie grinned hazily. "Isn't it funny how life is circular? The sale that gave Mike the cash to really make the Corps a serious thing ends up helping Mom's career, too..."
Recognizing the tone and the strange look on her face, James sighed. "Incoming premonition, huh?" She frequently talked about bizarre things and made connections between things that were only loosely related before the onset of a precognitive dream. It was a strange side effect of the ability that had never affected Peter or James or Angela. For reasons they had yet to diagnose, Lexie just reacted badly to precognition. James secretly suspected that it was just her need for control that rebelled against her mind being hijacked by the future.
His sister nodded tiredly, flopping heavily against the back of the couch. "Yeah. It would be nice if it didn't feel the need to announce itself like a week before I ever have the dream. That way I could just quit worrying about it and get it over with."
"I guess," James said noncommittally. Then, casting around for a change in topic, he asked, "So, what did you guys get up to at Helix while we were in Canada?"
Latching onto the new topic with unrestrained eagerness, Lexie grinned. "Molly brought in Doyle... again. And Dani's started with us, couple days a week."
"Really?" James asked, eyes lighting up with interest. "I missed her first day? Damn."
Lexie couldn't help but smile- James' feelings for the Parkman's daughter was blatantly obvious to everyone except the two involved. He frequently would reject extremely useful powers out of hand, in order to take her speed ability back to keep up with her, yet was incapable of admitting, even to himself, that he liked her. Daniella, who had a tendency to be oblivious when it came to her effect on others, had no clue. Everyone else, though, could see that James had had a crush on the girl from the moment they'd first met at one of Mohinder's famous Christmas parties two years before.
"Yeah, you missed her first day. Shame, but oh well. We've mostly been doing training stuff with her right now- no missions yet. Maybe you can help her out with that..." She trailed off suggestively, allowing just enough time to pass before she spoke again that James would have time to realize what she was implying but not enough to get a word in. "Anyway, Avery and Simon took down this weirdo in Florida who could make any woman desire him past the point of reason and he was going around making underage girls do really kinky things on video and then he would--"
At that point, James held up a hand to silence her, somehow managing to blanch and blush at the same time. He was quite shy, and hearing about anything even remotely sexual tended to make him turn twelve different shades of scarlet. "That's creepy," he muttered.
"Try being the one who had to review the tapes so that I could go down there to mindwipe everybody involved," Lexie said peevishly.
White won the battle with red in his face, and he stared at her. "I thought... I thought we weren't doing that memory-erasing thing anymore," he said quietly. "It's too much like the old Company..."
Lexie shook her head sadly. "I know, I know. But it had to be done. It's not like we're doing it to cover up the existence of Specials or anything, though. That would be just a bit pointless, after Claire's stunt when we were kids. Those women were raped, Jim. Horribly. Should they really have to go the rest of their lives with that messing them up, if I have the power to make it go away?"
"You can't make it go away, Lex," he said softly. "You can't change the past. You're just messing with their heads, doing that. It still happened- they just don't remember it."
Neither of them could come up with anything to say after that, and so they merely sat in silence. When the lowering twilight made it necessary to turn on the lights in the apartment, James waved a hand absentmindedly, telekinetically flipping the switch. The Petrelli apartment was quiet.
He was playing the piano when Molly let herself in. She'd had the key to his apartment (which had once belonged to his idol, Peter Petrelli) for years, and never even thought twice about using it anymore. It had bothered her, at first. Giving away a key to your apartment was something you did for a girlfriend, not some random friend, even a best friend. And god, she wanted to be the former so badly sometimes it actually presented itself as a physical ache. But eventually she'd grown accustomed to just walking into his home, and he into hers.
She stopped in the doorway to his living room, leaning against the frame and studying him. Micah's eyes were closed and the music seemed to flow, not from the piano, but from himself as the main theme from the Grieg concerto poured through the air. His concentration was intense, and his face was relaxed, transported. It was times like this that Molly fell even harder for him, because she was able to see beyond the mask of calm and responsibility and burden that he never took off. She was able to catch a glimpse of the little boy that still resided within the man.
It was something that, even in the role of the best friend, she rarely got to do. Micah let her catch tantalizing glimpses of his vulnerable side, but shortly afterwards, he would immediately withdraw, and hide behind a discussion of movies or music or the Corps or something equally mundane. That seemed to be a lot of their relationship, particularly after the warm openness that all children possess began to fade in their teenage years. Hiding. He hid a lot of what he was thinking and what he was going through, and she hid her feelings for him. For the girl who could find anyone, all this hiding was grating on her nerves. But she couldn't lose him as a friend, and if it didn't work out, she undoubtedly would. She'd lost too many people in the past to risk it.
"Hey," she said, as he brought the music to a masterful close.
Micah jumped at the sound of her voice. "Hey," he replied when he saw who it was.
"I keep telling you, if this whole medical equipment magnate-slash-superhero thing doesn't work out for you, you could totally be a concert pianist. You'd make killer dinero."
"Whatever," he replied gruffly, but Molly could see a hint of a smile twitching at the corner of his lips. Standing up, he crossed the room to her as she unfolded smoothly from where she leaned against the wall. "What's up?" he asked.
She smirked. "I can't come visit my BFF without a reason?" she asked. In the back of her mind, she was thinking of how much the phrase 'BFF' sounded like 'boyfriend' if you said it fast enough.
"Guess not," he teased. "I'm afraid you're going to have to invent one on the spot, aren't you?"
Molly forced her face into a faux-concerned look. "Well, now that you mention it, there is that nuclear crisis going down in the Sudan--" He burst out laughing, and she gave up the pretense and laughed with him.
"No, seriously," he said when he could breathe again. "Why're you here?"
She shrugged. "I don't actually have a reason," she said. "I just thought maybe we could watch a movie, get some takeout, just hang out. We haven't done that much lately."
Micah's face was suddenly conflicted and hard to read. "Yeah, well, conflicting schedules," he mumbled, running a hand through his black curls.
"You make the schedules!" Molly exclaimed, suddenly incensed. He was avoiding her eyes, just like he seemed to have been avoiding her for the last few months. The suspicion had been building up for awhile, and irritation with it, but she had suppressed it as she usually did. That was what friends were about, right? Not pressing the issue if it wasn't a big thing. But Molly was beginning to wonder if maybe it was a big thing? Micah wouldn't avoid her without a reason. And she was over the waiting game she'd been playing. She was done waiting for him to open up to her.
"Can you honestly tell me that you don't have one night you can take off to hang out with me?" Molly demanded, staring at him with a strangely intense look on her face.
"Yes," Micah said shortly, her curt, "don't mess with me" tone getting him angry faster than anything he'd ever encountered could. That was the problem with Molly, he had concluded. She could make him happier than anyone he'd ever met, but she also made him angrier faster, as well.
"What, you got somewhere better to be?" Molly sneered. "You seemed to have plenty of time to romance the piano!"
At her word choice, his brain sparked off a train of thought that ended nanoseconds later with a brief, hazy flash of the two of them, skin-on-skin in the darkness, and slow, intense kisses... Micah shook off the thought even as it plunged him into resentment at her obliviousness. "Yeah, well, maybe the piano's better company!" he exclaimed bitterly.
"Oh, so now I'm an intrusion?" she demanded coldly. "Well why the hell did you give me a key, then?"
"I gave you the damn key for safety reasons!" he yelled at her. "We live dangerous lives! In case something happened, I wanted there to be somebody who could get into my apartment fast. But maybe I picked the wrong person, huh? I could be held captive by Eric Doyle or whoever the hell else and you probably wouldn't notice for a month! It's obvious you don't pay a damn bit of attention to me!"
"Don't you dare say that!" she half-shrieked. "Don't you dare say I don't care, because you know damn well it's not true! What the hell is up with you?!"
They were a foot apart, yelling at each other, and as she stared up into his eyes, challenging him to give her an answer to her furious demand, it suddenly was too much for Micah. Her green eyes were white-hot with anger, and her face was flushed, and his own anger transformed wholly into the desire it had stemmed from. He crossed the last inches between them and pressed his lips to hers in a passionate kiss...
Did you know that The Bangles are really excellent writing music? Who knew!?! Reviews = love!