When she comes back, she asks for Bennet.
(Or, more precisely, to Rati: "the guy with the stupid glasses.")
Knowing what he'll say if he sees the six-by-six foot cell she thinks of as her room, Elle walks down the hall, to the empty infirmary room on this level. There's a larger one below – this room is only big enough for one bed, a chair across from it, and a long shelf. Something – or maybe a few things – rattle on the shelf as she walks across the room, but nothing spills onto the floor, and they fall silent again once she's reached the edge of the bed, and propped herself up onto it.
He takes about fifteen minutes. When she could shut her brain off, sitting in a mostly bare room by herself hadn't meant much. But now she could get bored again, and by the time Bennet's finally arrived, she's gotten all she can out of watching the glimmer of the fluorescent lights on the silver cuff she wore on her wrist, or letting small sparks crackle up her arms and over her neck. The sparks stop the moment the door opens, but despite what happened the last time they spoke, he enters with no apparent fear of a repeat attack. She puts her hands on her knees, and he closes the door, and takes the seat across from her.
When she doesn't speak at once – "Are you feeling any better?"
Elle can't tell if it's meant to be facetious, but she also doesn't have to work to not care. She keeps very still, and says, "I need your help."
To his credit, Bennet's expression doesn't change, and his tone is at most mildly interested when asks, "How is that?"
Now, she does move. Elle looks up, over Bennet's shoulder, and very slowly, she raises her right hand. Without saying anything, she makes one quick, swiping motion through the air.
On the shelf behind Bennet, the metal instruments – scalpels and trays and a stethoscope – flash across the room. Anything sharp embeds itself into the opposite wall. The trays and stethoscope clatter and collapse in a heap on the floor next to it.
She looks back at Bennet, and sees that his eyes are wide, and shoulders tense, and for one second, she's convinced he's about to attack her. The only reason she doesn't hit first is that she can't think of why he'd suddenly look at her like that.
But then, he takes a deep breath, and some of the tension seems to drain from his stance.
"I'm sorry," he tells her, his voice quiet. "I really thought you were going to turn into Sylar."
Once she's moving – once she's not so stunned that she can't even seem to feel anything – Elle smiles, and covers her face with her hands. There's no real mirth to it, just a strange, consuming relief. A moment later, Bennet begins to laugh.
Mohinder Suresh has gone from geneticist to cab driver to world-renowned geneticist. Unlike those bunking under the New Mexico desert, he came out of the reveal in a respectable position. It meant that any visits he made to them had to be well-organized and absolutely secret. He might not have to fear for his life, but there was no hope for privacy, at least without the help of some not-too-dear friends.
But if Bennet held sour feelings toward Suresh for shooting him in the eye, he's never shown it. They shake hands. Suresh begins to ask about particular residents, but Bennet answers that he can't provide any updates himself. He's only here to discuss one specific case. The room Bennet leads them to is two more flights down, but requires no special passcodes or keys to enter. No locked cells and no secrets.
Elle is alone in the room when they arrive. It's well-lit, and set up like a small gym, with mats on the floor and a shelf on the right side that another day could have held equipment, but today was lined with any magnetic (and disposable) article she could scrap up. Several are already lining of the floor of the opposite wall, though on a few occasions Elle has managed to at least begin to tamper her force.
She looks over her shoulder when they enter, and after a pause, she smiles.
At this moment, Elle likes that she's startled him. But Bennet glances at her, and her smile fades, but she turns on her heel to face them.
When no one speaks at once, Suresh looks between them. "She's the case?"
"Elle's changed quite a bit since you knew her."
Suresh looks back to her, and after a short pause – "I can't see that at all"
Bennet nods, and Elle turns again, this time to face the far wall. Then, she reaches out with her right hand to swipe through the air – the forks and pans and jewelry that already littered the floor near the wall rises up through air, before freefalling back down, the hit only softened by the mats covering the floor.
"All right," Suresh agrees. "One thing has changed."
"Some of your research has concerned secondary abilities," Bennet points out, as Elle turns back to face them again. "Elle has something she'll need to do soon, and she needs all the help she can get."
"Most of what I know comes from the Company's research," Suresh answers. "I don't see how it would be anything more than you already know."
"We weren't really in your department, doctor," Elle answers this time. Suresh blinks back to her, then folds his arms.
"All right," he answers. "A secondary ability usually manifested as an extension of the first, when the subject either had difficulty with their initial ability, or experienced some traumatic event that may have blocked them from accessing it."
After a pause, he adds, "But you never appeared to have difficulty with your ability."
Elle's flicker to Bennet. "Do I get to tell him the truth?"
Bennet doesn't look away from her. But his answer is for Suresh.
"Let's sit down, doctor. This is going to take a while."
"Just take it slowly."
"I'm not trying to be fast –"
The metal train twitches, and then jolts forward again, immediately jumping off the tracks. Elle leans back against the wall, though unlike the first couple times, she doesn't send the toy careening across the room out of frustration. Rati pats her shoulder.
"You're not used to this, huh?"
"I already did it a long time ago," Elle answers, not sounding any less annoyed. She's also not in any hurry to reach over and right the train so she can try again, and fortunately, Rati isn't a very demanding training partner.
"Where did you get this, anyway?"
"Bennet brought it."
"Bennet has a toy train?"
Elle leans farther into the wall, her head tilting back so she can look up at yet another concrete ceiling.
"Bennet has a son, too."
Rati lowers her hand back down from Elle's shoulder, and turns away, facing the dislodged toy train.
"You guys know a lot about each other."
(Rule 1 from Suresh: Don't ignore it.)
"He knew me when I was a kid."
It gets more attention than she'd hoped it would. She can hear Rati turn back at once, can imagine her expression. It had only been a few months and it felt like Bennet had somehow already gained the same sort of status he'd had back then. Well, back in that time just after the point she's not supposed to be ignoring.
"You knew him when you were a kid?"
(Rule 2: Don't lie to yourself or others.)
"It's not the same."
"What, like –"
It's so innocent Elle just about can't bear it.
"- you don't remember?"
(Rule 3: Accept everything.)
"No, I remember."
She lets it hang in the air for a long moment, then leans forward again, and reaches out to correct the train. As the wheels click to the tracks, she adds, "I didn't know who he was."
"But now you know about his kids?"
Elle moves back to the wall. "It changed when I got older."
"You worked together."
(Rule 4 is to try to right that north-northwest compass now that she's accepting everything, but Elle is just aware enough to tell this was more for his own peace of mind. The truth is, she wants to follow this rule, anyway – but she's not sure she'll ever understand what exactly it's supposed to mean.)
Rati shifts again, and Elle can feel what she's certain is the other woman's hand brushing through her hair.
"Why didn't you just tell us?"
The train moves again, this time advancing just two inches, but staying on the tracks.
(Rule 5: Work slowly, but don't make excuses.)
They were in this concrete room, with this metal toy, acting as though it was something important, to train, to practice, anything but just another distraction from the fact that they were in this concrete room in the first place, all because they all knew. Because they were told, but the world wasn't ready, or maybe was ready, but only to accept them as Elle's father had accepted her: an interesting experiment. Or at best, a carefully (if not successfully) managed pawn. Popular opinion so far wasn't caring for the freaks causing storms or knocking out power or just not dying when they were really supposed to.
Or for the ones who had kept it all as secret.
Elle watches the train, and move she her hand slowly through the air, feeling out the forces along the train as though she were running her fingers against one side of a door.
"I don't know."
The train clicks just barely forward. Elle keeps her eyes on it, but Rati answers her, anyway -
"You were really upset."
(Rule 6: Have a goal.)
"We'd always heard you before, but I didn't know..."
Elle lowers her hand. The train clatters off the tracks, anyway.