White cot, white sheets – she had hoped she wouldn't be back here, though she didn't allow herself anything more than a detached sort of resignation. She can tell her shoulder is... different, maybe fixed. Adhesive prickles her skin over slices and scrapes. Elle tries to lift her hand to the one on her face, but feels something tug on her arm. Her eyes open to another IV attached at her elbow.
There's a shadow over her sheet. She follows it up to Arthur Petrelli, standing a short distance away, the overhead light obscuring his face.
Apparently he's looking at her, however, as he says in an even tone, "I'd appreciate it if we could keep any more violence to a minimum."
Elle blinks. It's when she notices dried blood on her eyelashes.
Weak, but with no emotion paired with it: "I thought you wouldn't save me."
He doesn't answer, and she still can't see his face. But after a pause, another figure appears behind him. Taller, he steps to Petrelli's side, and then in front of him, walking over straight over to her. Elle doesn't even tense, makes no motion to prepare herself – it's not like it would make any difference.
He stops at her side, turned slightly, his back turned to Petrelli, but his eyes on her. The light catches on his face.
She watches him for a moment, and then silently reaches over, far enough so that she can touch his hand. Elle had never been very good with handshakes, but now it seems to take no effort at all for her bruised arm to imitate the gesture. With only a second of hesitation, Sylar's fingers curl around hers in return.
And she knows. She may be nothing more than a tool, decoration, weapon – but she's not the only prisoner here.
This time, she's the one who walks in. The room is wider, like an office space that hasn't been filled. There are windows on the far end, but the sky is overcast, and a light is on overhead. Sylar's sitting a table with the same foldout chairs. There's a folded newspaper in front of him, but it's obvious he was waiting for her. He looks up the moment she enters; she shakes her head slightly, closing the door behind her. Without speaking, she walks across the room to the wall on her right. It looks like nothing more than painted plaster, but Elle places both hands on it, and then her ear, as though she could hear anything through it.
After a moment, she withdraws all but her hands, and takes a sideways step, sliding them over the wall's smooth surface. Sparks crackle up from her fingers and spread like a wave over it. The overhead light goes out again.
She turns back to Sylar, still plainly visible in the paltry glow leant by the cloudy day beyond them.
"He's probably spying on us."
Sylar doesn't answer, but he does shift in the chair and, like it's a difficult motion for him, reaches toward the seat next to his and pushes it slightly toward her. Thoughts entirely sewed away, Elle responds by walking over to the table, and pulling herself up onto it instead.
Another moment of silence stretches between them. Then, for the second time, she's asked: "What do you want?"
"I think you have to decide that," she replies. Sylar stands, pushing his own chair away, maybe so that he can retain his height over her. Elle obediently follows him with her eyes, no particular expression on her face.
"What do you think I'll have to do?"
For the first time, she looks away. It's brief, but visible, like she can't quite think fully if she keeps watching him.
"If you can't convince him he can control you," she answers slowly, not even the smallest hint a smile or smirk behind her eyes, "That you can control yourself."
She can tell he doesn't like this, but her utterly detached manner and mind seems to keep him at bay. Still, there's something of a sneer to it when he asks, "With you?"
Elle pauses, then nods. She doesn't have any other answer. He takes one step to the side, then another, a little like he's going to circle her, but he instead stops in front of her.
"How are we going to do that?"
There's no response. For the moment, she keeps her answers tied up with her thoughts. The silence seems to bother him much more than her – after not too long, his hand twitches, like he's going to take hers again.
She answers by lifting her own hand, and placing it flat against his chest, sliding it up toward his shoulder as she asks, "Is that what you want?"
Sylar steps back from her at once. It's not just the contact; with her silent mind and empty expression, it's very much like being touched by a corpse.
Again, she follows him with only her eyes. It takes him a minute, again like it requires so much effort to form the gesture together, but he asks, "But what is he going to think – about you –"
Elle slips off the table, stepping toward him. He doesn't back away, but there's wariness that lets her know he won't let her touch him again. It doesn't matter.
"Don't you get it?" The question is flat, the words entirely incongruous with her smooth tone and empty face. "It's not about me. This is all –" her footsteps puncture the words -
"– about you."
And again, once more, she loosens the net, letting her mind burst out like a bright strike of lightning. He grimaces, as though a sudden wave of thunder had just rattled the far windows, and she collects up her thoughts once more, until it's a space as empty as the room in which they're standing.
"All right," he says. "We can do that."
She nods, and moves to walk past him, back to the door again. Her hands on the handle when she calls back to him, casual as if they'd been doing this for years: "See you downstairs?"
She's depressed the handle slightly, but stills, and looks back to him. He takes no step toward her, not even to stand over her again.
"When we're out of here, I'm going to know what you are. And then I'm going to kill you."
A few strands of her cropped hair are caught in the bandage that remains under her eye. She pushes them back behind her ear, and opens the door, heading back into the hall.