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02 August 2009 @ 08:05 am
Rescue Me (1/6) for gingerberrysnap  
Because this fic is awesomely long, we'll be staggering when it's posted; three chapters today, and three tomorrow, although not all at once. Just to save your flists. We are that considerate.

For: gingerberrysnap
By: Anonymous

Title: Rescue Me (1/6)
Rating: hard PG-13 to light R, depending on how you feel about a little language, violence, and sexuality
Word Count: 20,073 all together, 3844 in this part
Spoilers: post-Volume 3, but only compliant for the GNs up to "Rebellion Part 5: Wanted."
Disclaimer: Heroes and all associated characters belong to Tim Kring and NBC.
Summary/Prompt: While in DC trying to dismantle Building 26 and create a new Company, Peter gets a message from Rebel telling him to rescue Claude Rains.



Of course, it wasn’t as easy as roasting Sylar’s corpse, throwing Danko in a prison cell, releasing all the captives and calling it a day. But Peter didn’t think anyone expected the dismantling of Building 26 to be the massive headache it was turning out to be. So many problems needed to be fixed, and needed to be fixed now. The only people who seemed capable of not running around like headless chickens were Peter’s mother and Noah Bennet. Peter would be forever grateful for their calm presences in the main office, telling people where they needed to go and what they needed to do when they got there. Maybe it wasn’t the best precedent to set, considering the unknown quantity of both Angela and Noah’s loyalties, but for now they were getting things done and keeping people focused. For now Peter was prepared to let them hold the reins.

Noah in particular seemed to... well, if the man ever did something as ostentatious as shine, he was doing it now. He’d taken over Danko’s private office, a dark drab room with the blinds permanently drawn, wisely deciding that issues that could be resolved without his help would stay outside, while the ones that couldn’t would make the leap across its forbidding threshold. It was but one level of issue-filtration being swiftly implemented throughout the building.

Peter was on the third floor, talking with a pale but steady electrokinetic named Raisa when a beep from his cell phone announced a text message. Excusing himself, he walked into the hall and pulled out his phone.

RESCUE CLAUDE RAINS
HELD IN LONDON B26
-REBEL

For a few seconds, all Peter could do was stare at the message, its digital letters blurring in his vision as the memories closed in. Claude... He’d never expected to even hear about him again, not since he’d seen the terror in Claude’s eyes at the mere thought of the old Company catching him. He’d accepted that, had even learned to appreciate it in a way, having been forced to handle his problems without anyone’s help. Even if it had led to Simone’s death, Peter’s explosion and imprisonment, his terribly misguided alliance with Adam, Caitlin’s... He stopped himself. These days he had plenty to keep his thoughts on the very real present. Figures that just his name sends me straight back to the past. Forcing himself to focus on the situation before him, Peter quickly realized that this was the first he’d ever heard of a London Building 26. And that fact... required a leap across a threshold.

***

Peter poked his head into the murky gloom of the office. “Noah, you busy?”

Face illuminated by desk lamp light reflected off paperwork, telephone cradled to his ear, Noah replied, “Extremely. But...” he held the phone away and glared at it, “as I’ve been sent to voice mail for the third time, I just might have a minute to spare.” Light swirled briefly in his horn-rimmed glasses as he turned to Peter, “What can I do for you?”

“It’s about the, uh, London branch of Building 26. You know, I didn’t even realize Danko had expanded the operation into other countries already.”

Noah smiled sardonically, “That was mostly Nathan’s doing, actually. In the early, early days, when he was really gung ho. Persuaded the governments of Great Britain, Japan, and Australia to let a team set up shop in a few American military bases and take care of their dangerous ‘terrorist’ problem for them.”

“So that means there are places just like this, with people being held captive against their will.”

“They might even still be bringing in suspects.”

Peter frowned, “Not suspects, Noah. And not terrorists either. They didn’t do anything wrong- we didn’t do anything wrong. Not all of us.”

The man blinked, “I apologize.”

“Okay. So, we need to stop them. As soon as we can.”

Noah gave Peter what the empath had come to think of as his “look how enthusiastic he is, isn’t it cute?” smiles. “Yes, we do need to stop them, but you can’t go chasing people down when you’ve just cut off your own legs, Peter. Just fixing this mess in DC is stretching our meager resources beyond the limit. You should know that as well as I do.”

Peter crossed his arms and huffed. “Okay, yeah, but we can’t let them keep abducting people. Maybe we can’t get every branch straightened out all at once, but we can stop them from making the problem worse than it is.”

Noah digested this for a moment, eventually nodding, “You’re right. We need someone to go out there and tell them about the regime change. At least get the ball rolling in the right direction.”

“Yeah.”

“Get Danko’s propaganda out of their heads. See if any foreign Company operatives would be willing to come back and help out- maybe they’ll be more cooperative than their American counterparts...”

“Yeah. And we can start sending people back home.”

Noah held up his hands with a half-shrug, “Eventually, eventually. To their friends and families- and bosses- they’ve been arrested by the government. They can’t exactly jump back into their lives as if nothing happened.”

Peter chuckled to himself, “Probably wouldn’t be that hard for Claude.”

Noah paused. The horn-rimmed glasses flashed back up to Peter. “What was that?”

Peter swallowed, suddenly nervous. But he set his jaw, and reminded himself that the fewer secrets the new Company started out with, the better. “I got a message. From Rebel. It told me to rescue Claude Rains from the London Building 26.” In response to Noah’s mask-faced silence, Peter continued, “It’s, y’know, it’s kinda interesting, I guess. I mean, now we know that Rebel doesn’t know about Danko. That there isn’t really a ‘Building 26’ to ‘rescue’ anyone from anymore.”

“That is interesting.”

“So, okay, you need someone to go set things straight in London, stop Building 26 from kidnapping people. I can go, and maybe get Claude out too. If I can. And maybe even talk to Rebel. Tell him- or her... them that, you know, we’re the good guys now. We can all work together.” He ended with a smile that wasn’t returned, but he could detect Noah’s mind shifting back into gear.

“You would go.”

“Yeah, absolutely.”

“It’ll be messy, Peter. Just as messy as here, if not more so. Those people are trained get their orders from one man and one man only, and that’s Emile Danko. The man we’ve imprisoned.” He paused again, then turned to his paperwork and picked up the phone. “So we’ll have to go to the one and only man with more authority than Danko in this situation. Get an executive order from him.”

“Who’s that?”

Noah stared at him for a beat. “The President, Peter.”

“Oh. Right.”

***

After working out which empty office wasn’t currently housing a former-prisoner, Peter leaned against a desk as he stared at Rebel’s text message. To his surprise, the text showed the number where it had come from, as it had never done before with any of Rebel’s phone communications. That wasn’t the only strange thing- the number appeared to be a foreign one. Peter took a breath, and told himself, “Rebel has to know.” He dialed the number and hit SEND.

It rang. And rang. And rang. After a full minute Peter was just about ready to give up when the line clicked. Silence, but Peter thought he could maybe hear breathing.

“Is this Rebel?”

A long pause filled only with, yes, the sound of almost even breathing. “It is.”

The terse answer didn’t give Peter much to go on, besides a notion of youth, and maybe femininity. “Okay. I need to talk to you about Building 26. There’ve been some- new developments that you have to know.”

“Go on.”

The hint of an accent made Peter blink, but he did as instructed, “Well, I think you’ll be pleased to hear that Emile Danko isn’t in charge here anymore-”

“Wait, ‘here’?” Rebel interrupted, young, female, accented voice suddenly harsh, “You- you’re at Building 26 in Washington? You’re with them?” Growing anger made a snarl of the question.

“What? Rebel, wait, you don’t understand-”

Fuck you, mate! I’ll get him out myself! I don’t need your bloody help, all right?!”

The line went dead. Peter found himself picturing a cell phone shattered against a wall, somewhere. Even if that wasn’t the case, he knew he wouldn’t be speaking to Rebel again anytime soon. “That could’ve gone better,” he said with a sigh. Made a mental note to be on the lookout for an attempted infiltration when he arrived at the London Building 26. For now, he had packing to do.

***

Peter blamed Noah for his restless flight across the Atlantic. The man had taken him aside for a private chat in the airport- never a good sign.

“About Claude Rains,” he’d begun, gaze firmly fixed anywhere but on Peter.

“Yeah?”

“If he is there, at Building 26... if you can... talk to him...”

Peter was getting freaked out already. Noah had never appeared so... pained before. “What is it?”

Noah’s eyes finally focused on him. “Try to convince him to come back. To the Company. I don’t know if you... what he told you. But he used to be an agent. More than that, he was a teacher for specials. And those are two things we really need now, more than anything.” He let out a tiny, tired laugh, “I don’t know how you’ll do it. I don’t expect you to, to be honest. Claude is... nothing if he’s not stubborn. But, you’ll try, won’t you?”

Peter answered honestly, “That’s been my plan since I found out he was there.”

He basked in Noah’s pleasantly surprised smile, “Oh, well, great then. Glad we’re on the same page.” Peter had noticed how Noah would employ corporate idioms when thrown off-guard. “But, ah, if you’d like a little advice as to how you should pitch your job offer? Don’t mention my name until it becomes absolutely necessary.”

“Okay, any reason besides the obvious?”

“Ye-eah. The last time I saw Claude- not counting our little meeting on Charles Deveaux’s roof - I put three bullets in his chest. I’m not his favorite person.”

With that information ringing in his ears, Peter had been bustled off to his flight. The only words of comfort he’d been given were his mother’s, her shining eyes making him feel like a kid again, in a good way. She’d taken his hand, and her power had flowed into him. “It never hurts to have a little extra insight, Peter,” she’d murmured before hugging him goodbye.

And now he sat in his seat, knowing that sleep was the only thing left that would help him through the mess that awaited him, but unable to quiet his mind long enough to let unconsciousness take hold. The hours passed, and maybe he managed to zone out for a few, as sooner than he would’ve thought the sky was lightening outside his window. He watched as clouds turned gold in the morning sun, and ocean gave way to green land, which gave way to houses and roads and buildings and eventually blessed tarmac. Dazed and confused and prepared to beg for a cup of coffee, Peter hoisted his messenger bag, and meandered off the plane and into Customs.

At baggage claim, Peter was so mesmerized by the gentle waltz of the luggage carousel he barely noticed a tap on his shoulder. He turned slowly, and took in the tall, well-built specimen that screamed “military personnel” even to Peter’s altered state. “Good morning, sir.”

The empath squinted, “Who? Uh, I mean, hi. I’m Peter. Petrelli.” He stuck out his hand, but missed the other man’s as it snapped up to his temple in a smart salute Peter didn’t really register until it was over.

“First Lieutenant Lucas Hardy, sir. I’m here to bring you out to Building 26.”

“... Okay. But I’m gonna need some coffee first. And my luggage.”

***

Along with a moderately improved level of consciousness came a somewhat embarrassing amount of nervousness as the car ride to Building 26 progressed. Peter felt like it was his first day at a new school, and knew if he couldn’t purge or at least hide that feeling, he would be treated as such by everyone he was about to meet. Noah’s warnings about their loyalty to Danko, their belief in his philosophy, were building up the already daunting task before him. Peter tightened his grip on his messenger bag, thinking of the sheet of paper with the signatures on it, and daring to hope it would carry him as far as he needed it to. And he thought of Claude.

Unlike the DC Building 26, its English counterpart wasn’t situated among various other anonymous buildings in one of the more industrial parts of town. Instead, Peter and First Lieutenant Hardy traveled out of the city, through the suburbs and into the countryside. It took a full forty-five minutes for them to approach the former military base, which rose up dark and imposing and solid, like something that could go through a thorough bombing raid and still stand for another century. That’s probably the plan, Peter mused gloomily. Hardy stopped the car at a gate in the barb-wire fence surrounding the base, and flashed a badge at the stern security officer who cradled a semi-automatic rifle in his arms. Peter swallowed against a thrill of genuine fear at the sight of the weapon. This was getting better and better.

Almost in self-defense, Peter focused on his comparison of the two Building 26s as Hardy led him through a series of gray-brown hallways. Peter could imagine his Building 26 (and it was rapidly becoming his Building 26) having had a previous life as just another home for a business. Insurance, perhaps, real estate, tech support- anything. But here, even the air he breathed was saturated with martial commitment. This structure, and the soldiers in it, had a mission. And nothing would disrupt the pursuit of that mission, particularly not a painfully young civilian with a piece of paper. Peter spent the rest of the walk cursing Claude, and Rebel, and Noah, and Nathan, and Danko, and everyone and everything he could think of that had schemed to put him in this awful situation. By the time he was done, they had arrived at the office of the man Danko had put in charge, a Major Paul Miller.

The office only differed from Danko’s in that the whole building looked like Danko’s office. Hardy and Peter stepped inside, and the former moved smoothly into an attention stance and salute.

The major gave Hardy a paternal smile, “At ease, First Lieutenant.” He stood up from his desk, rising up like a living hill in his brown uniform, and walked around to meet Peter’s handshake, “And you must be Peter Petrelli. Nathan’s brother, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Yes. Yes, I am- sir.”

“Good man, that Nathan Petrelli. For an Airdale.” The major gave Peter a grin the empath just barely remembered he was supposed to return. The memory of Nathan’s time as a Navy pilot felt like something he’d read out of a textbook. “He’s doing well, I assume? Haven’t seen him since we were shipped out to this rainy little island.”

“He’s fine, thanks. Working on fixing some past mistakes.”

The major’s salt-and-pepper eyebrows lifted at that, “Is he? Well, that’s certainly an admirable pursuit. But where are my manners? Have a seat, and tell me all about what inspired your visit.”

They did so, though Hardy stayed standing near the door. Peter was uncomfortably aware of his bulk behind him and couldn’t shake the suspicion that it wasn’t deliberate. “Well, there’ve been some pretty big changes at the DC Building 26, and we’re trying to inform all of the branches about them.”

The major let out an interested hum, “What changes would that be, Peter?”

“Emile Danko isn’t in charge anymore. Noah Bennet’s running Building 26.”

The major absorbed this declaration with a twitch of his lips. “And could you tell me why that is?”

Peter blinked, “Why? Because what Danko was doing, and what he was ordering other people to do, was criminal. Abducting people, imprisoning them, for no other reason than because they have an ability- all of that is being stopped, effective immediately.” He swung his messenger bag onto his lap and rifled through it until the piece of paper emerged. He slid it across the major’s desk. “Which is the basic gist of what this says. It’s an executive order, signed by the President, and Mister Bennet.”

The major picked up the paper and skimmed it over, more than a little like Peter’s father perusing his latest report card. Peter banished that comparison as quickly as he could. “Well, well. You weren’t kidding when you said there’d been some changes. You know, Danko... I served with him before- before all this. An interesting man, but, all told, I’m not surprised it’s finally caught up with him. He was never any good at politics.” The major let the paper slip from his fingers, and clucked his tongue, “Well then. I suppose we have some work to do, adjusting to this alteration of our objective.” He looked up at Peter, “Am I correct in assuming you’ll stick around, help us grunts make sense of it all?”

“I’ll do whatever I can, sir. I’m here as long as I need to be.”

Peter got the same paternal smile Hardy did. “Glad to hear it. I suppose I’ll have Lieutenant Hardy here find you some quarters.”

Peter paused, “Quarters, you mean... I’ll live here?”

The major’s smile turned slightly nonplussed, “I’m sure we’d all like to live on the economy, Peter, but I’m afraid it’s not really in the cards for any of us. Don’t worry, it’s a big base, you won’t be parked on a bunk with the privates.”

“No, uh, it’s fine,” Peter stammered to cover his faux pas, “Whatever- wherever you need me to go.”

He stood with the major, who strolled out from behind his desk and squeezed Peter’s shoulder as they walked to the door. “This is all very exciting news, Peter. We’ll talk again soon.”

The door closed, leaving Peter and Hardy out in the hallway. Their gazes met, awkwardly. Peter wondered briefly how many people Hardy had kidnapped, if any. “That went well,” he remarked.

Hardy just nodded, lips drawn tight over his teeth.

“Uh, I was wondering. Mister Bennet- he told me that one of your... that there was a man here that, uh- he’s called Claude Rains.”

Hardy’s brow creased thoughtfully, “Is he a private...?”

“Oh, no, he’s- well, he’s... He’s in his forties, tall, kind of light brown hair, blue eyes...”

Hardy blinked in mystification.

“He can become invisible.”

A deep frown darkened Hardy’s entire face in an instant. “Oh, him. What about him?”

“Well, he’s here, right?”

“Yeah, he’s here.”

“Can I... can I see him?”

Hardy stared at Peter for a beat. Eventually he half-shrugged. “Sure. Come on.”

They were off again, through corridors that were starting to remind Peter of an underground bunker with their earth tones and raw fluorescent lighting. He spotted the dreaded doorway marked Human Resources by someone with a truly sick sense of humor- and passed by it, still trailing after Hardy’s quick, long strides. Not too far past, however. At the end of the hallway they stopped at a door that was unmarked, unless you counted the electronic lock over the knob. Hardy punched in a code on the lock’s key pad, and Peter heard bolts within clank heavily. The door swung open and Hardy and Peter stepped inside the small square room beyond.

There was another soldier sitting in a chair in the far left corner, reading a magazine. His eyes flickered up when they entered, and he probably had a brief conversation with Hardy. Peter thought he heard his own name, but he didn’t really notice. Lying on a hospital bed in the center of the room, hooked up to two IV drips and a heart monitor, was Claude Rains. At least, he had to be Claude Rains, otherwise Hardy wouldn’t have brought Peter here. But Peter was having a very difficult time reconciling the man he’d known with the still figure on the bed in front of him. He stepped closer cautiously, hoping as much as he feared that Claude would jump up, eyes flashing with the old electricity, smack Peter in the head and demand to know why it had taken him so bloody long to get here, he really was useless, some things never change, where’s my coat, let’s get the fuck out of here. But he didn’t. Not even when Peter made it to the head of the bed. All Claude did was breathe, and even that was barely enough to make his chest move. And then there were the bruises- violet splotches decorating the left side of his face from temple to jawline.

“What happened to his face?” Peter heard himself ask, though he could almost draw a line around the shape of a fist. Several fists.

He looked over to the seated soldier, who blinked bored eyes at him. “We tried waking him up for some food that didn’t come out of a bag.” He nodded at one of the IVs.

Peter followed the nod, “You- he’s on parenteral nutrition, why? How- how long has he been like this? You have to wake him up- he has to wake up!”

He could feel both Hardy and the soldier’s puzzled frowns but couldn’t bring himself to care. “Listen,” the soldier said, leaning forward over his magazine, “From the second we caught this guy, he’s been fighting. Every time we wake him up, he fights. Those bruises right there? Just a little payback for Corporal Park’s detached retina. He ain’t waking up.” The soldier paused, “Unless the major says he does.”

“Mister Petrelli, I think it’s time I showed you to your quarters,” Hardy’s steady voice cut through Peter’s mounting distress. He turned his gaze away from them all. A part of his brain considered the value of the fact that no one at the base had any idea that Peter had met Claude before. It decided that value was great enough to make him back away, towards the door.

“Yeah, Hardy, I think you’re right. Nice meeting you...”

“Sergeant Santos, Manuel.”

“Santos. Sergeant. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Uh huh.” He turned back to his magazine. Hardy and Peter returned to the hallway. The door clanked shut behind them. Peter felt like he was sleepwalking.

“This Rains guy,” Hardy was saying, “Noah Bennet need him for something?”

“We all need him, more than anything. He’s exactly what we need right now.”

Hardy laughed then, soft and amused. “Funny. You’re funny, Mister Petrelli. Need him. Sure.”



Next part.
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I had fun once and it was awfulvisiblemarket on August 2nd, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
I'm so excited by this that I almost want to post the next part already so that I can read it. *laughs*

He stepped closer cautiously, hoping as much as he feared that Claude would jump up, eyes flashing with the old electricity, smack Peter in the head and demand to know why it had taken him so bloody long to get here, he really was useless, some things never change, where’s my coat, let’s get the fuck out of here.

Heh. I really enjoyed picturing that, I'll admit.

A part of his brain considered the value of the fact that no one at the base had any idea that Peter had met Claude before. It decided that value was great enough to make him back away, towards the door.

Oh, good job, Peter! Some actual lateral thought going on!

This is really great, by the way. All the little details that show how difficult it really would be to break Building 26 down, all the differences between the British and American versions. Very cool.

Also really liked Hardy only recognizing Claude from his powers; a hint of just how everyone had probably been trained to see the specials, as just defined by the possibility of what they could do.
c_quinnc_quinn on August 2nd, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
I tend to avoid fics of these lengths; my attention spans usually wavers halfway through and I end up going off on very peculiar tangents (often about penguins...) instead of following the story.

But this is absolutely perfect. The amount of detail and effort you've put into it is incredible. It's a layered, well-written piece and I can't wait to see it continued.
Leslie: Heroes - Maya wields a stickshadowcat15 on August 2nd, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
This is great, I can't wait for the next post!
Jenn: Peter and Angelagingerberrysnap on August 2nd, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
Eeeeeeee!

Okay, now that my squee of joy is over... omg, I'm so excited! First off, just the length alone is amazing, and thank so much for taking the time to write it for a 1000 word minimum fic exchange. Also, I totally forgot I asked for this prompt! *laughs* When the GN came out where Abby ran off and Claude was taken by the agents, I actually said to visiblemarket, "This makes me want to write Peter rescues Claude from Building 26 fic." But then I remembered later it was one of my prompts, so clearly I really wanted this to be written! I never would have thought to place this after V4. If anything I would have done it during the time where Peter flew away from Nathan and before he rescued Angela. That being said, that's not a complaint, because having it post V4 and the way you've set it up is awesome!

So, I'm going to review each chapter individually and I'm now going to attempt to coherently comment again:

“So, okay, you need someone to go set things straight in London, stop Building 26 from kidnapping people. I can go, and maybe get Claude out too. If I can. And maybe even talk to Rebel. Tell him- or her... them that, you know, we’re the good guys now. We can all work together.” He ended with a smile that wasn’t returned, but he could detect Noah’s mind shifting back into gear.

I've behaved and haven't read any of this! Even though it's sitting in the exchange e-mail. I really have no idea what's going to happen with it. So when I read this I couldn't help but worry that Peter's being overly optimistic. Of course he's the good guy. But one can never trust Noah, Angela, and the rest of the people involved in this mess.

“Wait, ‘here’?” Rebel interrupted, young, female, accented voice suddenly harsh, “You- you’re at Building 26 in Washington? You’re with them?” Growing anger made a snarl of the question.



“What? Rebel, wait, you don’t understand-”



“Fuck you, mate! I’ll get him out myself! I don’t need your bloody help, all right?!”



*snorts* Abby? Way to give him a chance to even speak or explain after she went and enlisted his help. I hope she doesn't inadvertently muck things up.

“Ye-eah. The last time I saw Claude- not counting our little meeting on Charles Deveaux’s roof - I put three bullets in his chest. I’m not his favorite person.”

Understatement much, Noah?

“Listen,” the soldier said, leaning forward over his magazine, “From the second we caught this guy, he’s been fighting. Every time we wake him up, he fights. Those bruises right there? Just a little payback for Corporal Park’s detached retina. He ain’t waking up.” The soldier paused, “Unless the major says he does.”

Ha. Of course Claude is being a difficult, stubborn ass. As he should be. Even though he's getting his face bashed in, the fact that he's being a jerk makes me inexplicably happy. As does Peter's immediate concern and moralizing.

Also, I'm too lazy to go back and cut and paste the text, but I loved Angela's little moment of saying goodbye to Peter and passing along her power.

On to the next part!
teastainedbirdteastainedbird on August 7th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
8D It's been a while since I've read a good old multi-chapter Plaude fic! And this first chapter was great! Must read next part. Now.
formerly rainne83: joynesslotus0kid on August 7th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! I hope you like the rest.