A Merry (Un)Birthday


melissa2_icon.gif perry_icon.gif

Scene Title A Merry (Un)Birthday
Synopsis In the midst of dealing with being trapped, Perry still finds time to (belatedly) celebrate Melissa's birthday.
Date February 1, 2011

Westview Apartments: Melissa's Apartment

While Monday didn't go nearly as Melissa may have hoped, what with the dome coming down before her and Perry got to speak. Tuesday has been a bit better, in that, so far, there haven't been any additional problems. So they were able to help out while they could, then returned home, where Melissa passed out shortly after. After a shower and migraine meds, anyway. Because subway tunnels, eww.

This morning finds her waking before Perry thanks to not only Junie waking up early, but Rosie as well, a girl whose mother was trapped just on the other side of the barrier, just inches from her daughter. When Perry wakes, Mel is sitting at her kitchen table, watching Rosie eat a bowl of cereal, while she feeds Junie and sips at a cup of coffee for herself. She looks tired, but not as tired as she did prior to their trip. It's the kind that'll fade with the caffeine.

It's not so much that Perry is adaptive as he is detached, finding great shifts to be abstractable and thus to some extent ignorable in the day to day. It's a common delusion, the use of habit to ground yourself in a world gone loony (in this case, domey), and it permits him to sleep with some soundness, waking with no grogginess save the usual, one that will fade with time, less if he also acquires coffee. He dresses, button up shirt hanging untucked over the waist of his workman's jeans, and he ambles into the kitchen, catching Melissa surrounding by little ones. Still a strange sort of sight.

"G- uh- good morning," he says, crossing over to her and placing a kiss on her cheek, "can I- uh- can I help feed the- uh- the future generation?"

When he walks in, sleepy or not, Melissa gives him a warm smile, tilting her face up and returning the kiss with one of her own against his cheek. Rosie smiles shyly, and Junie just waves a hand and babbles at him. "Good morning, baby. Sleep well? And if you want. Rosie's pretty much set, but Junie's being a little pig. You can get some coffee first though."

"As well as- uh- can be expected," Perry says, giving a wry chuckle, "coffee- uh- yes, that'd be great," he turns, seeking out the percolator and crossing over to it, before doubling back to look for a mug. "I- uh- find it hard to forget, though, the- uh- unique circumstance we're in. What with- uh- what with this- uh- forcefield. It's- uh-" he turns to face her, mug in hand, "it's curved, yes? It's- uh- so big that it's hard to- uh- hard to get a sense of it but…"

"Yeah, seems like it's a bubble, not just a dome," Melissa says, grimacing faintly. "But it is easy, sort of, in here to forget that. Just in the apartment, I mean. Except for the temporary roommate," she says, smiling reassuringly at Rosie. "I wanna get Devon over here later, see if we can map out where it is. If it's a bubble, then it's probably spherical which means there's a center. I'm hoping that at the center we'll find the one involved, given the size of it. I'm gonna be pissed if the Suresh Center is in the center, though."

"It's- uh- a rather Pythagorean disaster, this," Perry comments, going over to the coffee pot and lifting it free of its heating plate, pouring the dark liquid into his mug, "geometry without- uh- without mercy." He moves back towards the table, sipping the coffee, drinking it black. "D- Devon? Who- uh- who is he?"

"You know the teenager who was with me, when we went down into the subway? Looks about Kendall's age? That was Devon. I met him a few days ago. He lives here with his aunt. She's stuck on the other side of the bubble, so I'm trying to keep an eye on him." Melissa gives him a sheepish smile. "You know me, I can't help but take care of people."

"Hos- uh- hospitality was governed by Zeus," Perry comments, "it's- uh- a fiercely sacred thing. It's- it's a virtue of yours I- uh- I admire." He pulls out a seat and settles in next to Melissa, peering across at Junie, "I- uh- I admit my experience with young people is pretty limited…" He looks over at her. "Is- uh- is he one of us? I admit I was- was sort of distracted down there."

"I think so, yeah. A lot's happened since then, so I admit to having some of the details a little mixed up. And still have the edge of a migraine from last night," Melissa admits with a grimace, starting to wipe off Junie's face so she can pluck her out of the high chair. "And until Kendall, I didn't either. You learn, eventually. At least if you stay around them long enough."

Perry continues to nurse his mug, hands wrapped around it. "I think- uh- I think we need to get a sense of this thing as soon as possible. Our- uh- our lives may be in immanent danger," he scowls, "this- uh- this does seem very fishy. Roosevelt Island is already- uh- already forming into an Evolved ghetto. This sudden- uh- sudden appearance of an impenetrable barrier seems- uh- seems too thematically appropriate not to mean something," his scowl deepens, "and if its center is the Suresh Center then, yes, we will have considerable reason to be- uh- pissed."

"Yeah," Melissa says, nodding and rising to her feet. "Be right back. Gonna get the kids settled." She takes the girls into the other room, and some Disney movie starts up a moment later, just before she returns and sets about cleaning up after their breakfast. "I've been pondering who might have done it. Obviously it's someone or someones who have an ability. Something this big, I'm guessing it's A, someone really fucking powerful. B, someone with an ability amplifier. I know one, and she was in Institute custody for a while. Or C, a group of people with similar enough abilities to put up a bubble this damn big, through solid earth and metal."

She pauses, leaning against the counter. "I don't see why an individual or a pro-evolved group would do this. Yes, depending on if the barrier is letting air through, it could be construed as keeping those within us safe since I doubt anything can penetrate it, but it's just putting us in another jail. And at first I thought no way the government, or more specifically, the president would do this since he's evolved and something like this the year before elections.

"The Institute is, clearly, an easy assumption, but the Suresh Center is in here with us, which both adds to the argument and detracts from it at the same time. They're trapped as well, but they also have a large supply of guinea pigs trapped with them. And they were responsible for the mass visions last year, the blizzard…" She sighs and moves back to the table, sitting next to him. "And they said this was going to be a safe place for the evolved. Right."

"Safe- uh- safe for them perhaps, safe for the rest of the world," Perry says, bleakly, "safe is- uh- is a word easily corrupted." He reaches out to rest a hand on her shoulder, squeezing. "I- uh- I brought some things for you. I- uh- didn't get the chance to give them to you what- uh- what with all that's happened but," he gives an apologetic but hopeful smile, "the better late than never principle already- uh- already applies in this case, so…"

"Yeah, safe for them," Melissa murmurs, before she blinks and gives him a confused look. "Things for me? What, did I leave some clothes at your place or something? Because you didn't have to bring them back." She grins. "Never know when it might come in handy, after all."

Perry gives a laugh at this, kissing her on the cheek appreciatively before rising to his feet, leaving his mug on the table. "No- uh- you'll- well, hold on, you'll see." He lifts a finger - just one second! - and heads out of the kitchen, into her room, the one he's most graciously permitted to share with her. When he returns, it's with two boxes. One small, one a fair bit larger, both thin and rectangular. "Hap- uh- happy birthday, if much too late. I- uh- I had to take time to think just what to get you."

Melissa continues to look baffled when he leaves the room, but she sits there and sips at her coffee while she waits. Then she beams when she figures it out, and stands to embrace him before even touching the presents, kissing him. "Thank you, hon. I thought you'd forgotten with everything going on. I know I did, sort of. Kendall sent a scarf, but otherwise there was just so much going on."

Perry smiles bashfully at the kiss, still a little ashamed of his lateness but relieved by Mel's easy forgiveness, if forgiveness it need even be called. He offers up the small box first. "It's- uh- it's a silly thing that- uh- that means something to me. I- uh- well, open it, and I can explain."

Melissa takes the box and sits down, opening it carefully, then beaming when she pulls out the ring inside, turning it so she can look at the entirety of the Ouroboros turned ring. "It's so pretty! And totally goes with more than half the clothes in my closet!" And she slides it onto her finger, grinning at it.

Okay, to be fair, Perry wasn't thinking too much about matching, so this realization is an unexpected windfall. Phew. His reasons for picking that specific ring are… well, let him explain:

"What, if- uh if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more'?" Perry speaks with the care of recitation, obviously quoting something, and at some length - something he takes very seriously. "Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine'?"

Perry clears his throat, before carrying on, in his own words. "That's- uh- that's the test of greatest stress. Would- uh- would you live your life over in all- uh- in all its pains and trials, again and again? Has it all been redeemed? Eternal recurrence tests us and-" he pauses for a moment, sort of nervous, "and, well, you- uh- you are a moment like that for me. I would- uh- I would relive everything to get- uh- to get to you."

At first the explanation has Melissa's lips twitching, but when he finishes, the amusement has completely faded into something much softer, much warmer, and much stronger. The box is set down, forgotten, as she straightens and slides her arms around his neck, kissing him, gentle, sweet, lingering. "You're too good to be true," she whispers against his lips when she finally breaks the kiss.

Perry receives the kiss with some surprise, finding it hard to believe that he could have done much other than embarrass himself. He was, after all, dropping Nietzsche who - generally speaking - isn't usually a hit with the ladies. But this is not common lady, and there's is no common relationship. He takes Melissa by the waist. "You- uh- you still have another present, you know…"

Melissa grins, giving him a gentle squeeze. "Then you shouldn't have distracted me," she teases, giving him a light kiss, short this time, and moving back to the table to pick up the other box, still grinning as she starts to open it.

Inside, nestled in tissue paper, is a coiled up leash and a dog collar which, in and of itself, is a sort of peculiar present as she doesn't own a dog. Though, as it happens, that's just the point. "I- uh- recalled," Perry says, dipping his head, nervous again, "you saying you- uh- you missed your dog. I- uh- I thought… well, when we get the chance… maybe we could go together and- uh- pick one out from a good rescue program or- uh- or the pound?"

While the first gift made Melissa soften and kiss him, this one makes her slowly draw the collar out, while she blinks rapidly, fighting against tears. Apparently she really has missed having the company of a puppy around. "Perry…I…this is…" She looks up at him, smiling despite the wetness of her eyes. "You want to get a dog? Us? Both of us? Picking one out?"

Perry nods, mutely at first, regaining his speech in the face of those tears only with effort. "Y- yes, if- uh- if you'd like that. If it's- uh- moving too fast I understand," he smiles lopsidedly, "fall- uh- fall as slowly as you'd like. But- uh- but I'd like to, when- uh- when you're ready."

He's not fully through those statements before Melissa's arms are around him and she's clinging to him while laughing. A bright, joyous sound. "It's a great idea! I do miss my puppy, and every little girl should have one, and it's just one more sign that you're sticking around and another reason why you're too good to be true. A puppy? It's just perfect!"

Perry's arms enclose Melissa and he gives her a tiny lift off the ground, smiling with increasing silliness as he continues to bat four hundred. Okay, so he would never use that particular idiom, but he's still shocked at his continued success. He gives Mel a small squeeze. "I'm- I'm glad to hear that," he says, "though- uh- we'll need to get out of here before we do anything else…"

"And I can't have a puppy here, so best to wait until March. March is a good month for this sort of thing. I can't wait," Melissa says, grinning and laughing again, out of happiness. A sound too rarely heard from her, though it does come more frequently these days.

"Spring, a time for changes, for upheaval, one way or another," Perry says, nodding, smiling as well, unable not to, "we've had- uh- quite enough of one way. It's- uh- about time we tried for the other."

"You couldn't be more right, baby. It'll be all good changes. A new place, one not monitored by DHS. A new puppy. And a new roommate. The best one I can think to have," Melissa says, smiling and brushing a hand over his cheek. "It's just a few weeks away, really, but now it seems like forever. We should start looking at places. And once we get out of here, I'll give my parents a call, see about getting some help getting a good place. The house on Staten was nice, but it wasn't really mine."

It seems their chief method of escaping the dome has been in future plans and fantasy, neither of which do much to deal with the pressing issue of the here and now, arching high above their heads in its faint blue shimmer. The mention of Melissa's parents, however, do call to mind other higher powers. "Your- uh- your parents?" Perry stammers, "maybe- uh- maybe I should meet them? Would that- uh- would that be wise?" He has an old school attitude about announcing his intentions (do they count as honorable he wonders?).

That makes Melissa laugh and she kisses him lightly. "Only if you want to. Mine never had much use for me, despite what my uncle says. He's probably the one you gotta worry about since A, he's in New York and B, he's DHS and C, he seems to care about me more than my parents." She shrugs a little, pulling away to move towards the fridge, needing someone cold. "They were always busy with work. I think I told you that I was basically raised by a nanny? I mean, part of me can't blame them, since he's this hot shot lawyer and she's a doctor." She leans against the counter and smiles wryly. "Guess that their criminal daughter is a hell of a disappointment, huh?"

Perry turns in his seat so his gaze can follow Melissa as she crosses to the fridge. "I- uh- well…" he says, lips quirking, "I- uh- I figure maybe… maybe it would be better for us to keep this- uh- out of the family, then?' DHS =/= people Perry cares to get buddy buddy with. Not unless he's really certain of his standing. "But- uh- well, if you think I should, I- uh- I will. Whatever- uh- whatever you think right."

"Perry, I'm not close to my family. I never have been. I've seen my uncle once in the past few years, and he threw me in jail. I haven't seen my parents in several years, though I have talked to them. So you don't have to meet them," Melissa says, shaking her head.

He was just trying to be sure! Aforementioned old fashioned sensibilities are, after all, a major contributor to Perry's small feats of gentlemanliness. Still… "I'll- uh- I'll take that as a relief. I imagine I'd be- uh- pretty nervous about it…" he smiles, ruefully, "and- uh- and still this is all assuming we- uh- we get out of here. We- uh- we should at least keep an eye on the troops and PMCs on the island. If- uh- if they are connected to this in any way they- uh- they may lead up to something."

"Oh, we'll get out of here, one way or another," Melissa says, glancing towards the living room and the two girls. "We've got plans to find the Center. We can check at the Suresh center, see if they know anything. I sent a text to Kincaid, to see if he knew anything, since I'm betting he's on the outside. Not sure what else we can do at the moment though."

"Do- uh- do we get any reception in here?" Perry asks, the thought having never occurred to him until now - who would he call, after all? "What is the- uh- the extent of our contact with the outside?"

"Yeah, I've been able to make calls," Melissa says, nodding. "Called the Suresh Center just before the dome went up, since there was an explosion. Which apparently didn't happen on Roosevelt."

"That- uh- that's something, at least," Perry says, tapping his chin thoughtfully, "though- uh- though I'm not sure what to- uh- what to make of the Institute's behavior in that case. Have- uh- any efforts been made from the outside to get in? I just- uh- just wonder how smoothly the government's reacting, if it's reacting at all."

"No idea. And I doubt there's much that can get through," Melissa admits. "Luke punched it, and right now, he apparently, can punch hard enough to break stone. And it's strong enough to cut through trains and trucks, so I think that, just like with the blizzard last year, we're going to have to get the one responsible to stop."

"That- uh- that I agree with entirely," Perry says, nodding, expression a bit grim, "but it's- uh- it's the one's responsible for starting it that I am- uh- curious about. If- uh- if we act such that we- uh- find sufficient evidence of government involvement we- uh- we could have a pretty powerful weapon at our disposal. Inf- uh- informationally speaking."

"It's possible. Though if the government is involved you can be sure that they hid it well," Melissa points out. "This, if it came out as being their fault, could be disastrous for them. Good for us, yes, not arguing that, but they'll be careful."

"Assuming- uh- assuming this is according to plan…" Perry says, a brow lifting, ever speculative, "it- uh- it seems as if this might be a mistake a- uh- an experiment gone awry. They- uh- they would have tested this under more discreet conditions otherwise. They- uh- they may still be scrambling to do the coverup."

"They might've tested it though. I mean, how likely is it that they accidentally set up a bubble around most of Roosevelt Island, which is pretty much evo island?" Melissa asks, shrugging a bit. "But that's part of why we're going to check out the center, right?"

"Yes it's- it's all speculation," Perry says, nodding, "until we- uh- we see for ourselves. We must just be- uh- ready for anything. To take any opportunity, to go to- uh- to whatever length," a pause at this, as his eyes go to the children that Melissa has taken in. "Well- uh- within responsible reason, of course," he amends.

His gaze is followed before Melissa looks back to him. "I was taking a walk with Junie. Rosie was playing in the street, her mother was a few feet away. Just far enough that she got caught on the other side. I couldn't just let the girl wander around until her mom came back."

"No- uh- no you misunderstand me!" Perry stammers, "I mean- uh- we have an obligation to- uh- to come back for them. I- uh- I was checking my- uh- my own impulse to- uh- dedicate myself entirely. I- uh- I know you need to make sure this- uh- this young lady," he gives Rosie a smile, "can get safely home."

Melissa smiles and shakes her head. "I was just explaining how I got Rosie. I know you wouldn't suggest that we leave children to fend for themselves. They're the ones we're fighting for, after all. The future and all that." And a fond look is given to both him and Junie. A very fond look.

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