"I had a crush on you."
She still has the sweatshirt on, even the hood pulled up. It's much darker than it had been when she'd closed her eyes – even the noise and occasional burst of headlights has dissipated by now. He'd let her take the bed, and it didn't look as though he'd slept himself. The ceiling light was on and he was standing at the table near the refrigerator, cutting a peach into slices over a plate. Elle had woken to the sound of the knife hitting the plate, the first sound out of nothing, and now she was sitting up in the bed, her eyes him without really watching. He looked up, but his expression was still, and he didn't say anything.
"I remember. You were the only one who wasn't old."
She laughs, once, briefly, and touches her hand to her mouth almost at once. He finishes slicing the peach, and moves to toss the pit away. Her eyes don't move with him.
"And I didn't know your name. I think that made it better. I could think whatever I wanted."
"Is that why you do it?"
He's silent as he walks over, holding the plate in one hand and dragging one of chairs from the table in the other. The chair is pulled up next to the bed.
"Is that why I do it?" she asks, as he sits.
Rather than answer, he holds out the plate. She takes it, placing it down in her lap, but doesn't touch the fruit. Neither of them move for nearly a minute before –
"You should wash your face."
Her eyes drop. Finally, she reaches for one of the peach slices; it's not until then that she sees the smears of blood on her fingers.
"She's fine," Elle answers, before eating the first slice. It's under ripe, crunchy and sour. She keeps her eyes down and finishes before adding, "Sylar's dead."
She picks up another slice, not looking to his reaction. She's picked up two more before –
"You're better than I thought you would be."
Elle looks down to the plate, now half-empty. It's porcelain, oddly uneven, the edges turned under like flower petals, the paint has a slight yellow tint to it. Her fingers run over the scratched enamel, smooth spaces between – and again, it's like she'd never felt something like it before. Like some big thing had been in her head, something blocking how she saw things, felt things – it makes her savor the sour taste of the peach, and after a moment she moves her hand to dig her fingernail into the pulp of another slice.
"You want to know why." It's not question, or a guess. She's not even sure how she could tell from his tone, but his silence now is enough to know she's right. So her hands still, and she looks up to him again.
"Arthur Petrelli is alive."
Beat. "Was alive." She shrugs a shoulder. "I don't know."
He stays silent, but reaches inside his jacket, and pulls out something from its inside pocket – a small, business card. She sees a flash of the familiar symbol and turns away.
"Okay, I get it. You know. And it was a trap."
He slips the card away again. Elle shifts, and leans back against the wall, propped up slightly by a couple of pillows.
"He let me go because he thought I'd attack the Company."
Again, he doesn't look surprised.
"But he did something before I left. I'd had to keep him out and I –"
Though there's no change in her voice, and not even her eyes move, it takes a minute for her to speak again.
"- I think he meant to make it hard for me to be there. In Hartsdale. Like I'd go off again. But I didn't feel anything."
"What about the Company?"
She meets his eyes. "There is no Company."
Before, despite everything, the way his expression changes might have made her laugh. Now, she just waits for him to ask –
"He took –"
"I think he's dead. No one took it. But they destroyed it."
He stands at once, moving to the window at the far side of the room. There's been no change in light, nothing more than the soft rumble of chatter and car engines below. Again, she waits for him to speak.
"How long do we have?"
"Days," she calls it across the room. "Maybe hours."
He doesn't need telling twice. Immediately, he's moving around the room, pulling a black backpack out from behind the book case, opening drawers and cupboards. But when he moves to take the still half-full plate from her, she catches his wrist.
"One more time?"
He hesitates. "Then you're not coming with me."
The overhead lamp is off, but the windows are bright with midmorning sunlight when she comes around again. The apartment has been obviously deserted; much of the drawers and cupboards are empty, with a few shirts left on the floor, and one plate shattered over one of the chairs. She stays still for the first few seconds, trying to spot every inch of the apartment she can before lifting herself up from the bed.
By now, still in her hooded shirt and tennis shoes, she's sweaty and uncomfortable. Her head hurts, and it takes a minute for her to think straight long enough to pull herself from the bed, and take a few steps from it. Despite the heat, hanging heavy in the room with the August afternoon and the ceiling fan turned off, Elle only pulls the hooded lower over her head.
There are two doors: the bathroom, and the exit. First, however, Elle looks to the kitchen table. The refrigerator has been left open, emptied, and obviously off. But on the table is a translucent plastic bag, with what Elle quickly sees is three, large red apples inside it.
She can't help but think both he and Bennet seemed to like her a lot more now that she remembered them.
It's her first inclination to leave at once. She even grabs the bag and begins to head toward the front door. But then she stops, and remembers what he'd said. Elle opens her free hand, and looking at the smears over her palm.
And instead, she switches directions, making her way to the bathroom instead.