Big Sappy Momma's Boy


kincaid_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Big Sappy Momma's Boy
Synopsis …every family has a few of them, and Kincaid is one.
Date May 23, 2011

The Symbiosis Foundation

The Symbiosis Foundation is based out of a small office space in East Harlem — on the outside, there's nothing particularly impressive about the building, a narrow three-story brickfront with bold black windows, but the property appears clean and well-kept with a metal plaque attached to the wall on the inside of the entryway with the Foundation's name on it, as well as the names of the other businesses that have leased space in the brickfront's modest interior.

Although there is no elevator inside, the stairwell that leads to the second floor where the Symbiosis Foundation is located does not make for a difficult climb, and during business hours the door that separates the office space from the landing is always open. Polished hardwood floors and a bay window with a view of a small park behind the building betray the building's origins — before it was converted into offices sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, the brickfront was a small apartment complex. Each unit has since been transformed into roughly seven-hundred and fifty square feet of space, and the Symbiosis Foundation's office still includes a kitchen in the back with a working microwave, stove and coffee machine as well as a table and two chairs for employees who might choose to take meals there.

The majority of the space, however, is dedicated to the waiting room with its plush seats, front desk and bookcase full of Evo-related reading material beneath a wall-mounted flatscreen TV.

One of the unit's bedrooms acts as a storage room and is located at the end of the hall with a bathroom opposite. The other poses as Melissa Pierce's personal office.

Though the Symbiosis Foundation is officially open, and has even gotten a bit of promotion via Tartarus's last auction, it's still slow business at the office. Normally that might have Melissa getting impatient, but after the visit of Heller the last week, she's just been going through her days on autopilot. Which means that a lack of real work to do is a good thing. Less she'll have to go back and redo.

Today she's sent the secretary home, so she's alone in the office. The door into her personal office is open, and she's got her laptop open, the screen on, but she's just staring at it. Unsurprising, since right now it's displaying a picture of Junie. Just the little girl, dressed in her baby goth, and smiling.

The light rain outside may be part of what's keeping walk-ins out. Rain may be a fairly common occurance to most who grew up in New York City, and Kincaid has been in his fair share of storms. But that doesn't stop him from wearing a black slick coat with hood up to allow most of the small droplets to slide away from him, rather than on his clothes or hair.

The door opens with the sound of the dampness, the tires driving through it and making that tone almost akin to an ocean… Only not nearly as calming.

The slick coat is removed, hanged up near the door, to drip on the floor, as his damp shoes get wiped off. Even then they still sweak as he approaches the office door, looking inside. There's a haggard expression on his face, a difficult week not quite behind him, but it turns into a smile at the sight of her. "Came as soon as I could."

The sound of the door opening has Melissa glancing up, but her distracted, sad expression doesn't change until she actually sees Kincaid. Eyes close for a moment, then she pushes her chair back and gets up, moving around the desk. "Cade…Thanks. This isn't how I imagined seeing you again, after we'd both…adjusted…" She hesitates, then takes a step closer, to offer a hug if he'll let her.

The hug seems welcome enough, though Kincaid returns it only with one arm, holding her tight against his body for a long moment before pushing her back with the other, to look her in the eyes. Almost black eyes meet blue for a long moment before he speaks, "Something's wrong," he states what was fairly obvious from her reaction. The hands stay on her upper arms, to offer a hint of support, and even some of the hug he broke in order to look her in the eyes.

"Yeah, something's wrong. Worse, I'm not sure I should fix it," Melissa says softly, shrugging lightly. Before she starts explaining though, her head tilts. "You can stop using your ability, I'll take care of it for a bit. Want some coffee though?" she asks, motioning towards the coffee pot that's half full.

"Only so long as it doesn't hurt you," Kincaid states quietly, as he allows his hands to drop down toward his sides, his right hand relaxing quite a bit so as to avoid as much of the pain triggers as possible.

It takes a while, as he moves to sit down, for his eyes to shift and the pain that he's been repressing to spring up. It may not be as bad as some times, but it's always present, always there… And he's watching her, for signs of it affecting her. And for a hint of what this worse thing is…

"What happened?"

Unlike the last time, Melissa's prepared this time, and has blocked that part of her that feels the pain of others. But his pain does fade as she moves to pour him some coffee. She brings the cup to him and sits on the edge of her desk. "Do you know who Colonel Heller is? Some people say he's working with Humanis First. Others say the Institute. I think he's just an all around jackass who despises the evolved."

"I know enough to stay the hell away from him," Kincaid says quietly, looking displeased at the mention of the man for various reasons. "But I don't know a lot— I don't know if he's Humanis First, but there's a lot of people who despise Evolved, no matter who they happen to be." There's a definite bracing to his expression, as he holds the coffee in his left hand and waits. He doesn't think he wants to be drinking for this part.

Melissa nods slightly. "Yeah, that's true enough. I didn't want to get near him either. He killed an associate of mine, and he was there the day that Junie's birth mother was killed. He was one of the soldiers. Something I didn't realize until recently." She's quiet for a moment, glancing back to the computer, before returning her gaze to Kincaid.

"Before the Dome went up I started the paperwork for me to officially adopt Junie. Make it legal and all that. I hadn't heard anything until last week. A social services woman showed up at the apartment. And she had Heller with her. She, I think, was just doing her job, but Heller was there so he could use Junie against me. And me against the Ferrymen," she explains quietly.

Yeah, not drinking had been a good idea. Kincaid lowers his head, that damaged right hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose as his eyes close. It's a shame that neither of their abilities can stop the tightness in his chest that threatens to crush the air he wants to breathe. It takes some time before he can lower his hand and look back up at her— and a few more seconds before he has the breath to speak. "I'm sorry. I had hoped that…" he shakes his head. "How long ago? Do you know where they've taken her?"

Melissa rises, moving over towards him, resting a hand lightly on his shoulder. "I know. And yes, they've taken her to her biological grandparents. I could get her back. I could take the chance that I could do it legally, or I could take the deal that Heller offered me…" Her hand tightens for a moment before she draws it back. "I think it might be best, for her, if she stays where she is. This thing just proved…she isn't safe with me. People can just use her to get to me," she says softly.

There's a hint of relief crossing his face, and something else entirely. As if he's pleased. But Kincaid doesn't feel very pleased, most likely. What he is pleased about is so small in comparison to the stabbing emotional pain that they can't really get rid of.

"I knew you wouldn't," he says softly, perhaps showing why he was pleased, in light of such things. "You didn't before— you didn't betray them. I don't know for sure if she's safe where she is… but she wouldn't have been safe with you. Not as long as they know anything about you— not as long as you want to live in public view. They'll use everything… everyone you care about."

"That's why she wasn't with me, in the dreams?" Melissa asks, brow furrowing. "I wondered…but I thought it was…it seemed like I wasn't allowed to see her, since Elaine or Quinn brought pictures and letters." She draws in a deep breath. "She didn't remember me. But…it's better, that she's safe. Wanting her to remember me is just selfish. Immature. But god I want her with me. As bad as I wish I could somehow fix your past," she says, lightly touching his injured hand.

"I think you were allowed to see her— it just wasn't safe. They couldn't bring her to you, you couldn't go to see her without risking someone following you— being the Mayor's wife wasn't exactly low profile," Kincaid says with a glance down toward where their hands join, the old scars on his paler than the rough hands that have seen far more than someone of his age probably should.

There's a slow inhale, and he shifts his hand around so he can squeeze his fingers around hers. "Remember… remember the woman I told you about— the girlfriend that I left behind… The one that I…" he takes in a slow breath, one that shows he's still not proud of it. "The one that I cheated on, when I realized we likely couldn't go back? That was June…" There's a moment's pause, "Junko… Junie as you call her."

The words are met with a blank stare for a moment, before Melissa blinks slowly. "I…what? You were dating Junie? In the future?" She pauses, frowns. "And you cheated on her? Boy, I oughta smack you upside the head." Another pause, and the expression clears. "I'm so sorry you can't go back, baby. And that she couldn't come with you," she says more gently. "We've really fucked things up, haven't we? The adults of now?"

"It wasn't you that fucked things up," Kincaid says with a sigh, bending forward in his seat until he's pressing his forehead down against their joined hands. "I should have never left— I never would have cheated on her if I hadn't— if I hadn't realized we couldn't go back— that I would never see her again." The reason he leaned forward is probably plain, in the heat on his face.

"I thought I was doing the right thing— I thought it was for the best, that we could…" he trails off, voice choked up. With that, he looks up, mostly so he can take in a deep breath. There's tears in his eyes, and fresh ones that have fallen as well. "That day— when I told you— I wasn't asking your forgiveness— I was asking hers." A baby who couldn't understand a word.

His hand is squeezed gently, and Melissa kneels so that she's at eye level with him. "That's why you were so adamant that I take care of her, when you saw her at my place. And why you were surprised to see her with me," she murmurs, lifting her free hand to gently wipe the tears from his cheeks. "I'm sure she'd forgive you, honey. And if there was any way I could get you back to your present, I would. I'd miss you, as much as I miss her, but I can't stand to see you upset."

"I'll never know if she would," Kincaid says in soft, hoarse tones, reaching up to rub his upper lip briefly, as if to make sure more disgusting moisture isn't dripping all over the place. Luckily it hasn't gotten that bad. Just tears, and choked up voice. "But I don't forgive me. Even if I say all the reasons it's…" he shakes his head. "It doesn't matter. I love her and— She'll always be my biggest regret. That I left her."

He takes in a slow breath, sitting up and actually sounding for a moment like he's trying to laugh— it doesn't have any humor and seems more nervous than anything. "If you change your mind— if you decide to do anything involving her— try to let me know."

Melissa remains kneeling even once he straightens, and she nods. "I will. I thought about it. Setting Heller up to get him out of the picture so I could get Junie back, but…If it's not him, it'll just be someone else, won't it? Kendall's already died once, because of me. I nearly did something terrible to get him back. I don't think I could stand it if Junie got hurt because of me. Or you. So it's not an easy choice. Perry…he thinks it's the right one. The mature one. Devon doesn't. He wants her back. What do you think?"

"The life you want to live isn't safe for any child," Kincaid says in a quiet agreement. "But I don't think Junko will be safe with the government either— not if it continues to go down the path that I've seen… If she really is with her grandparents, then they may be able to care for her, but— I had some bad experiences with the Foster Care system of the future and I still don't know if we've made things worse, or if we'd made things better…"

When he mentions his own experiences with foster care Melissa winces and ducks her head. "I'm sorry about that, Cade. And…I'm not sure, about her grandparents." She glances up. "Would you like to come with me, to meet them? We can decide after that, if they're good for her, or if I should fight."

"Just make sure if you decide to keep her you know what it means," Kincaid glances around the office, as if indicating that as one of the things it could mean. "Even with me— a legitimate kid, registered with the government even before I was born— they still used me against you. I was too young to realize it until I looked back— but I know they did."

Melissa doesn't look away when he gestures, but keeps her gaze focused on him. "I wasn't a very good mother, was I? Even without them using you against me? Even before Kendall died? It sounds like I was always too…busy…to self-involved. And then I left you alone, to go into foster care."

"I wasn't in foster care that long, if it's any consolation," Kincaid says in softer tones, as if he's not sure it should be a consolation even if he's said it. "And you weren't…" He takes in a slow breath, a sigh. "You can't raise a kid and try to save the world at the same time… But you tried, and I don't think I turned out completely awful."

Melissa smiles and shakes her head. "I think you're wonderful, Cade. But you're right, it is a lot to try to do." She hesitates. "You know I used to be terrified of babies? When I first brought home Junie I held her at arm's length, literally. But before this whole thing, with Heller, after having her for months, and seeing you…Perry and I had considered…in the future…having one." She smiles faintly. "I think I was hoping that he'd be like you." The smile dims. "I don't think it's going to be feasible though. I want to be a good mother, but I can't bring a baby into a world like this. I'm sorry you had to, though I'm not sorry you're here."

"You could still be a mother," Kincaid says somberly, voice a little sad, but there's something quite accepting about it too. No kid likes the idea of not being born, but the idea that his mom could still be happy? He's okay with that. "It just may take a while for you to find a life that you want to bring a kid into. And hopefully the world will cooperate. And even if it doesn't— I'm sure you will be the best mom you can, under whatever circumstances life gives you."

"I don't know. I mean, first I have to make sure it's a world I could bring a child into," Melissa says quietly. "A world I'd want you or Junie to live in. I don't know if that's ever going to happen." She sits back on her heels, her hand still on his.

"I can't ask Junie, she's just starting to talk, but you…Would you have wanted to be raised with your grandparents? My parents in Georgia, instead of me? Where you'd be safer? Or if you could do it again, would you have chosen me again? And please, be honest, Cade. I don't want to do wrong by anyone I love. I can't go back and change things, so you had more time with me, or so that you had…both your parents growing up, and it kills me."

"I'm Evolved," Kincaid says quietly, simply. "World I grew up in, there was very few places I would have been safe growing up. Every life had it's hardships— I think I would have liked to have grown up with the Ferry, because at least there, we had a voice— a say. It was dangerous, it was hard— but I was free. For the first time in my life— I felt free. Never felt safe… but I felt free."

Melissa listens intently, and she nods slowly. "The Ferry… I suppose you have a point there. Other kids, evolved. Some measure of safety…" She sighs softly. "I never should've left. I hate what Scott did, but that was the decision that led me to…where I am now."

"Our Ferry wasn't exactly your Ferry— there were a lot of changes, but what happened to them made them better, I think," Kincaid says in an understanding tone. His mother may have left them, but it's hard to say he blames her, based on what little he knew of the older Ferry. "It had time to mature, and a lot of the people in charge had similar interests— family, children they had to protect."

Melissa considers that for a moment before she nods. "True. And I think the last big attack did things to change them. I just don't know how much. I mean, I work with them when it's necessary, but I don't think any of them trust me anymore, not really." And it's obvious that it bothers her.

"Trust is a bridge that takes traffc from both sides," Kincaid says quietly, oddly poetical of him, really. "As long as you don't completely burn the bridge, you can get it moving again— it just may take patience and trust on your side, too. But no matter what you decide to do— I'm proud of you." With that, he smiles, and squeezes her hands with his own long-ago wounded one. And he can still meet her eyes with his natural color as he does.

That seems to do what little else can these days. It cheers Melissa up. "Then I'm doing something right. At the end of it, as long as my family still cares for me, I'm happy. It's who I'm doing this for. You and Junie, yes, but Kendall and Devon as well. And Perry. He's not family, but someday, maybe. And he's eager to meet you."

"Then we should try to do that soon— so he can find out I'm a big sappy momma's boy," Kincaid says with a lopsided grin that touches his eyes on one side only, leaning closer to press a kiss on her cheek to punctuate the statement. A true one, he seems to think, too. "Things are pretty rough right now at K Studios— but I… I'll do my best to get some time away."

Melissa beams at those words, and as he kisses her cheek, she's giving his hand a squeeze. "That's one of the sweetest things anyone's ever said to me. And you just let me know when you've got the time and I'll make sure he's at home and not off saving the world. I need to track down Kendall sometime too, tell him about all this." She cocks her head and grins. "I know about your friends. I talked to Quinn and Elaine. Needed to talk to women-type folks, not just Perry and Devon. Whatever brought you guys back, I'm glad I found out who you were. Life would've been dimmer without this."

"And that makes me very glad that I voted for telling all of you when it came to that point," Kincaid says with a smile, in no hurry to leave, or drink his long forgotten and cooling coffee. "Part of me wishes I could have told you earlier— but I think the timing was exactly what it needed to be, too. And even if I regret leaving Junko— I am glad I got to see you again. That you got to see me. As I am." All grown up.

"I wish you could've brought her with you. I'd love to have seen the two of you together, even if I do consider her my daughter," Melissa says, smiling. "I have a lot of questions, which I'm sure you expected, but most of me is just happy to have this opportunity, and doesn't want to spoil it. There's enough in this world that'll try to do that regardless."

There's a hesitation at the mention of having brought Junko along. There's a story there— and one for another day, it seems. "I need to get going," Kincaid says as he stands up finally taking a drink from the cooled coffee before he sets it down. There's a strange sensation of the pain that she's blocking vanishing. And his power pushes against hers— an odd feeling that. "But I'll get back to you about meeting with Perry, I promise. And that also includes meeting Junko's grandparents, if you still want me along." Though in what capacity, he's not sure— a friend? A neighbor? A consultant?

Someone who works for a news Studio probably wouldn't give a good vibe.

"Be safe, mom," he says in his form of farewell.

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