Title: Independence Day
Character: Elle Bishop
Prompt: Elle in the String Theory (Five Years Gone) verse. Is she good or bad?
Author's Notes: Thanks to kajivar and havocthecat for the beta work/feedback. Includes general spoilers for all aired episodes and incorporates information from the graphic novels Elle's First Assignment Part 1 and Elle's First Assignment Part 2.
November 8, 2011
Like the rest of the world, Elle Bishop was glued to her television, watching the unveiling of the Memorial to the thousands of lives that were lost five years ago when a bomb decimated most of New York City. Unlike most of the world though, Elle was drinking a champagne toast to Sylar, the terrorist responsible for the bomb. As far as Elle was concerned, he was a hero, because his act resulted in her freedom. November 8th was her personal independence day.
October 31, 2006
"Elle, what in the world are you doing?"
Elle turned away from the mirror and gave her father a guilty look. "Nothing, Daddy," she said, slipping the decorative crown off of her head and setting it down on her dresser. She wrapped her arms around herself, trying to cover the fairy princess dress she was wearing.
Bob eyed her outfit and shook his head. "You're not going to a party, Elle."
"I know," she said. "But I wanted to dress up anyway."
"I just got a very disturbing phone call," her father said. She recognized that tone. It was the 'I am very displeased with you' tone that she had grown to hate over the last sixteen years.
"About what?" Elle asked, worrying her bottom lip.
"Thompson discovered that Claire Bennet has the ability to regenerate," Bob said.
Elle frowned, something niggling at the back of her mind. "I never saw any indication of that while I was watching her," she said. There wasn't much conviction behind the words given that she had the feeling she was forgetting something.
Apparently the confusion on her face was evident and Bob slammed his hand down on her desk. "Bennet got the Haitian to mess with your mind," he said. "I'll let Thompson know. In the meantime, pack your bags. You're going back to Texas."
He didn't give her a chance to argue, not that she would. Elle stared at her door for a few moments after her father left. She hated Texas, hated Claire Bennet, hated the stupid Company, hated everything. Reluctantly, she peeled off her fairy princess costume, dressed in sensible traveling clothes and packed her bag.
November 8, 2006
"But, Daddy, she's not here," Elle whined into the phone. "According to all the news reports, she died on Homecoming night."
Bob heaved a very put-upon sigh. "Elle. Bennet is hiding her. I'm counting on you to find her. You don't want to disappoint me, do you?" His tone indicated that he very much expected his daughter to disappoint him once again.
Elle hated disappointing her father more than anything else. "No, Daddy. I'll find her."
"Good. Call me tonight and check in with your progress." Bob hung up and Elle flipped her phone shut, trying to figure out where to start.
Later that evening, after following Noah Bennet for hours as he did all the things she assumed a grieving father would do, Elle went back to her hotel room and started flipping through the channels. It was all boring talk about the election results from the day before. She sat up straight with recognition at the name Nathan Petrelli though. There were files on the Petrellis in her father's office. She was trying to figure out what that could possibly mean when the picture suddenly changed on the screen.
"This is Don McDonald with breaking news. A bomb has just exploded in Kirby Plaza in New York City. The cause is unknown at this time, but officials predict that thousands are injured or dead as a result. Stay with Action News Six for the latest."
Elle stared at the images that flooded the screen. Her father was in New York. She immediately started dialing his number, but the lines were clogged as hundreds of thousands of people had the same idea. All night she sat awake, staring blankly at the news reports that trickled in, her thumb raw from hitting re-dial so many times. She was in such a daze that she almost missed the fact that her latest attempt was successful. Instead of the 'all circuits are busy, please try your call again later' message, the phone was actually ringing. She didn't realize she was holding her breath until her father's voicemail picked up. "Daddy, it's me. I've been watching the news about the bomb. Please call me and let me know that you're okay."
November 11, 2006
Elle hadn't left her hotel room for the last three days. She had barely moved from her spot on the bed, glued to the television. Officials were estimating that upwards of a half a million people had died in the blast and at least a million more were suffering the effects of radiation poisoning. The world was in chaos and she still hadn't heard from her father.
"There are new developments in the bomb that decimated New York City. We'll take you now to a press conference by the newly elected New York senator, Nathan Petrelli." The scene cut to a shot of a very somber man in a suit, standing at a podium in an undisclosed location. "My fellow Americans, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the explosion that rocked our fair nation three days ago was set off by an American terrorist known only by the name Sylar."
Sylar. Elle recognized that name from eavesdropping on some of her father's conversations. He was special, like them. She tuned out the rest of Nathan's speech, struggling to recall the other details she had over heard. After a few minutes, she froze. Her father had known that Sylar was going to set off a bomb in New York City. And so had someone else; whoever was on the other end of that phone conversation.
But if he knew... why would he stay in the blast zone? The sinking realization that her father was most likely alive and well and hadn't bothered to check in with her dawned and Elle was barely aware of the rage rising in her until she shattered one of the pictures hanging on the wall with her powers. She took a few deep breaths in an effort to regain control. Why would her father keep her in the dark about all of this? Why hadn't he called?
Elle wasn't sure how much time passed after her revelation before she finally realized that this could be her time to shine. She could get out from under her father's control and start her own life, far away from the influence of the Company. Satisfied with her decision, she headed for the shower and started making plans.
November 15, 2006
"Here we are," the truck driver said, leering at Elle. "Los Angeles, California."
As soon as she made her decision to break free and start a new life, Elle knew that she was going to do so in California. All the television shows and movies made it look like a glamorous place and she deserved that kind of life. She had emptied all of her bank accounts and taken the maximum cash advances on her Company credit cards back in Texas and then hightailed it out of there before anyone came to look for her. She felt pretty confident now that she was in the clear.
She looked around at the smoggy city. "It's... not what it looks like on TV," she said, her disappointment creeping into her voice.
The truck driver laughed. "Oh, honey, you've got a lot to learn."
"Don't call me honey," Elle said, frowning at him.
"You owe me for the ride, doll face," he said, leaning across the seat of the truck and putting a large hand on her thigh.
"Remove your hand from my leg and I'll let you live."
That got him laughing again. "Oh, you're going to be a fun one," he said, bringing his lips down to hers.
Elle lifted a hand and zapped him. He reeled back in shock. "I warned you," she said, her tone suddenly cold.
"Get the hell out of my truck, you freak!"
"Gladly," Elle said, opening the door and hefting her bag over her shoulder. The truck driver squealed his tires in his haste to put distance between them, making Elle laugh as she looked around.
November 8, 2011
"To Sylar," Elle said, lifting her glass in a toast as she listened to President Nathan Petrelli talk. In the last five years, she had learned how to keep a low profile and interact with people without tipping them off to her ability. In fact, she could barely remember the last time she used it. Nathan's words about a cure for people like her made her frown. She never had managed to figure out why her father had files on the Petrellis, but she didn't like his attitude. Idly, she considered leaving Los Angeles and going to Washington, DC to confront him.
The champagne glass dropped from her hand, shattering all over the carpet of her high-rise apartment, when President Petrelli stepped back from the podium and flew. He was one of them. She couldn't begin to fathom why he had just outed himself in front of the world that way, but she was determined to find out.
Ignoring the mess she had made, she headed for her bedroom and started packing a bag.