ellectrical: (is the light)
ellectrical ([personal profile] ellectrical) wrote2011-04-10 09:44 pm
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August 2007, If I had my way

"How long will it take him to get through?"

Elle doesn't bother with the keypad in the emergency door – once it's been slammed shut, she puts her hand against it, and the pad bursts in a spurt of white sparks and small flame.

"Depending how fast he figures this place out again?" She gives a one-shouldered shrug, and looks to Bennet again. "Maybe twenty minutes?"

They'd already begun evacuating. Her code hadn't exactly been difficult to decipher, and most could recognize a battle already lost. Bennet knew a lot about the Hartsdale Facility, at least enough to help create the quickest path to safety out of the building through an underground exit. But Elle knew it as thoroughly as anyone – she was the one who located the emergency doors to insulate their path, from her father's old office to the exit below. And enough to make Sylar's path difficult, though hardly impossible.

Behind her, Bennet and Claire were arguing again, with Claire too stubborn to leave without her father. By now, Elle doesn't even want to tell them to shut up. She's barely listening at all, so much so that it takes her a minute to realize Bennet is calling her name.

"Get in here."

He's back in her father's office. Elle checks the surrounding hallways once to make sure the heavy doors still look intact, then makes her way into the office. Much of it is still the same – Angela Petrelli hadn't had time to take out his bookcases or even get a new desk. But there's a new, working computer, no sign of the murder that had taken place only months before, and now, what Elle recognizes as a very particular sort of ring. She had only heard it in drills before, the most extreme kind, that involved all of the Company. It's a soft trilling, coming from the office's left wall and low enough so that it wouldn't be heard beyond it, and the light above them is flashing, as though someone were turning it on and off.

Bennet's already on the new computer. He turns the flat monitor toward her when she's halfway through the office, and Elle can see immediately why this particular alarm is going off. Surveillance videos pop up on one window after another – fires burning in the Odessa facility, bodies strewn through a hall in their center in Los Angeles, some kind of fight still ongoing in a bunker outside Moscow –

"Did you know this was an attack on the entire Company?

Elle barely even hears his accusing tone. She doesn't speak, or lift her eyes from the screen, but she shakes her head. After a moment, she senses Claire move up behind her, watching the monitor over her shoulder.

"Well – why does it matter?"

In spite of everything, it's not an entirely unwarranted question. But neither Elle nor Bennet answers – instead, Bennet picks up a two-way radio that's been set on the desk, the kind she recognizes as used by the facility's security. He presses in the button on the side, and mutters, "Is everyone out yet?"

"Are you there? Come on, I need to know you're there."

He hasn't had time for a third attempt before Elle walks out of the office, and begins work to seal off what had been their only exit.

"There's something I don't understand."

Claire was out in the hall, the first line of defense and lookout when their others were inevitably struck down. Elle was emptying the office of every weapon she knew was hidden within it, from the handguns in the desk and the taser under the sofa, to the knives that lined the bookcase. None of it seemed especially promising. But Bennet, who was supposed to be coming up with an alternate escape route, had looked back to the computer monitor.

"What?" Elle asked, dumping an axe she pulled from inside the grandfather clock onto the desk, perhaps a little too close for anyone's comfort. Bennet ignored this, but pulled her over to look at the monitor as well.

"It's still going on."

And he was right. The footage hadn't been disconnected, the fires were still burning, bodies still strewn, nothing cleaned up or hidden or put away. If left like that, it seemed impossible the other facilities would stay as they were meant to be – hidden – for very long.

"Elle," Bennet says quietly, the sort of tone that immediately puts her on guard. But he continues, "We won't be able to leave it like this –"

She responds with a quick sort of nod, glancing back to the monitor with thoughts spilling over half-formed in her mind. "There's a – process. If we needed to destroy everything here. But we'll have to know we can get out before we can –"

Elle breaks off abruptly still staring at the monitor. A new plume of flame nearly engulfs the image from Odessa, and just as quickly, she turns back to Bennet, and holds out her hand.

"Give me the radio."

He raises an eyebrow, and Elle resists the urge to just grab it from him. Instead – "He'll talk to me, just do it."

He still hesitates, but seems unable to come up with any reason against it, and so without speaking pulls the radio from his jacket pocket and hands it over to her. Elle presses down the button on its side, but can't quite stop herself from turning away from Bennet when she begins to speak.

"I know you're there. You don't have to say anything."

She gives him the chance, and when there's no answer, she pushes the button again.

"I know Petrelli gave you a way to call him, so just try it. Try and talk to him now."

And with that, she puts the radio aside on the desk, and waits. Barely anything, but enough to rouse curiosity, and maybe, if they're lucky, a bit of distraction.

Nearly three minutes later, a voice finally answers.

"What happened?"

When she picks up the radio, she makes herself face Bennet as she speaks. Because they're out of options, and she has to just say it –

"You can go."

Bennet looks ready to tear the things out of her hands, but stays still. As much as he might not like her logic, it's obvious he hasn't avoided the same conclusion. Elle waits a moment, then continues –

"Maybe you knew what this was – he hit the whole Company at once. If he wanted to take it over he'd have done it by now. But he hasn't and he's not answering you. It's because he's gone."

She waited again, but he didn't answer. A short distance away, Claire has moved to lean in the doorway to the office. Elle leans back into the desk, and speaks into the radio again.

"He got the Company and someone got him. There's no one to come for you anymore. You can just – "

You didn't have to stay.

"– leave."

"I could."

But she can already hear his answer. He might as well be in the room, stepping right up to her, one more threat and counter again.

"But after all this, I'm not leaving without you."

The radio falls smoking from her hand. Bennet's eyes never leave her, and there's no patience in his voice when he speaks.

"So what are we doing now, Elle?"

It takes ten minutes. A combination of aided intuition and the strength of will to mentally claw through barrier after barrier. By this time, an alarm had begun to ring throughout the building, and the lights started to flicker – it was in part why he had chosen to head toward the office where he'd killed the transmutator months ago. From what he had sensed, if there were a nerve center to this building, that office was it. That this was the right decision is confirmed when he hears it – screaming from farther down the corridor. But not really screaming – raised voices and argument. The inevitable breakdown. Now that they knew what he wanted, they could cut their losses. If she could really be called a loss.

It doesn't surprise him at all when, as he approaches the corner to turn into the hall outside the office, a gunshot rings through the air. Something smacks on the floor, and now it's the cheerleader who screams. He steps around the corner as Bennet's pulling her back, back toward an open door at the other end of the hall, one hand around her left arm and the other with his gun lowered at his side. The reason for Sylar to ignore them is what's on the floor between them – a few, struggling parks crackle over her skin, but the pool of blood from the shot in her leg is already spreading over the floor. Entirely broken as she is, he can hear the pieces, the processes of her body slowing down. Sylar takes his time, stepping around her; she makes a dim attempt to shove herself away from him, but it's weak, nothing more than an inch across the floor. There's no explosion, no eruption of white light to stop this now. She can barely bring herself to breathe, let alone fight back.

Her gray eyes follow as he kneels over her, but though he has time, it's starting to drain now. She'll be of no use if she bleeds out first.

"I told you how this would end, Elle."

She doesn't look away. There's almost something determined in the way she watches him, as though she's afraid to glance away, but more likely, she just can't. It means he's run out of time, and he raises his hand.


Elle closes her eyes, and doesn't open them. Not when he crumples and collapses on top of her, not when even the alarm seems to fade beyond what she can hear, and not when, at last, Claire Bennet kneels over her, and stabs her in the arm.