kendall_icon.gif melissa3_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Maddening
Synopsis Kendall tries to gain membership to Messiah. But while he's told no, Melissa gets a bit more responsibility in the group and Peter is as maddening as ever.
Date August 17, 2010

Nature Center

Standing in the busy hall between the makeshift triage facility and another wing of the nature center, rays of sunlight come spilling down thorugh holes in the ceiling where branches of trees felled by the great storm came crashing down into the building. Dried leaves litter the floor along with fine tracks of dried mud and pages from old newspapers bleached out by the sunlight.

Standing outside of the triage center, head bowed and back up against the wall beside the door, Peter Petrelli doesn't look happy. Dark brows are furrowed together, his lips are downturned into a frown and one hand is slowly scrubbing from side to side over his mouth. The objects of his frustration are two people, one by one exiting the triage wing from where Peter had tended to Magnes.

Melissa Pierce and kendall Cunningham didn't do anything on their own to upset Messiah's leader, but together they have managed to raise question of something that has Peter's hackles raised and frustration increasing. "Ken shouldn't be here," is as calm as Peter can manage to say when they come walking out, "it's not safe for the other people here. Not safe for him. Take him home."

Melissa doesn't look too happy herself. But that could be from Peter collapsing as easily as Kendall's presence. Her arms fold over her chest and she sighs. "I brought him here for a reason, Peter. He wants to fight and I wanted him to see that it's not all spy games and explosions from afar. That people get hurt and die." She glances at the younger man, brows furrowing. "I'm hoping it convinced him to just go to school and be a normal kid," she mutters.

Looking back to Peter, her head lifts slightly. "He knows some of the people in there already, Peter. He was in my safehouse for a solid month with the flu. He met several people there. And he knows how to keep his mouth shut." A pause, then a dark murmur, "Unlike some people."

Kendall glances at Melissa at the man's words, then shakes his head. "I already know what sort of things this group does. I followed Melissa one day and found out. I asked to be involved since I'm in danger from the likes of Humanis First whether I'm in it or not, right? So the more I know about things, the better prepared I'd be for them. I've already… had experience with people who don't like the Evolved." a quick scan of the area, and he takes a deep breath. "Besides, it seems like you guys could use as many different kinds of people as you can get. And I thought up something I could do to help that doesn't involve me being in any danger. For instance, I could go to the registration booths and make them think that the test for that Suresh Linkage thing fails, and that people aren't Evolved. It changes color, right?" he looks at the man expectantly. He didn't even tell Melissa this idea of his.

"Doesn't involve you being in any danger?" Peter's eyes close as he rubs his hand over his face and leans off of the wall. Brown eyes angle up to Melissa, then down to Kendall. "No, go home." It's as flat a denial as Peter can give, and infuriatingly it's one without explanation either. Scratching at his beard, Peter aves one hand back behind himself towards the door to the nature center, then rests that hand at his hip.

"Go home, maybe you can find some work in the Ferrymen or Phoenix if you want to do something socially conscious. Messiah isn't for you, there's other groups out there that won't get you killed, or let you get someone else killed."

Swallowing anxiously, Peter looks up wordlessly to Melissa, then down to Kendall. "You're too young, too inexperienced, too confident. Melissa knows how to get in touch with the Ferrymen, the people who're running the show here. You want to play color-guard with Registration tests? Do it on someone else's time."

Melissa winces a little, first at Kendall's words, then Peter's, and she shakes her head. "Kendall, I told you it's dangerous. Even that would be dangerous. And Peter's right. The Ferrymen might be a better fit for you. Illusions are better suited to hiding than fighting." But on the other hand…

"Peter, you're telling him more than I have," she murmurs to the man. "And he's not that much younger than I was when I got started." Of course, she got started with the Ferry, not Messiah. It's never a fun thing though, being stuck in the middle. Especially not when you're between the two people you care about most, in different ways.

"I can be older, if you like." Kendall pulls a small round candy out of his pocket and swallows it, and seems to age about six years in the process. "No one even needs to know I'm a kid. And I'm not confident in a lot of things, I've never shot a gun, I've never tortured anyone, I've never even won a fight. But I can make things appear out of thin air, make other things disappear, and change what things look like. And… I saw Magnes. He's older than me, but in a lot of ways he acts younger. Is it only physical maturity that matters? I can keep a secret, I've told no one where I stayed when I had the flu… neither of the places. Nor who I saw there."

Peter furrows his brows, watching Kendall, then looks up and over to Melissa. Brown eyes cast to the side, his lips crease into a frown, and walking towards the young man Peter offers a shake of his head. "Have you ever been tortured? For information?" For the briefest of moments there's a weird look on Peter's face, like he almost remembered something relevant, but forgot it as soon as he remembered it.

"Kendall. This isn't… I don't want to see you get hurt, but moreover I don't want to see you hurt other people. You're young, and if someone held a gun to your head and demanded to know whatever you knew about Messiah? Kendall, I don't want to put a child in a position where he could be responsible for the deaths of people. It's not going to happen, ever."

Both of Peter's hands come up slowly, and brown eyes track to Melissa. "You brought him here, then he already knows about the Ferrymen. Get him in touch with Eileen, or— I don't even care. But he's your kid, so you take care of him. I don't care if he wants to help, or if he thinks his ability is useful. I won't turn someone his age into a soldier. There's other ways you can help, if you actually want to, and you aren't just doing this for the wrong reasons."

Peter's denial has Melissa looking a little relieved. It was the answer she was hoping for. So she doesn't argue. "I dunno if you met Eileen at the Den, Kendall. Nice chick. You know several of the Ferry already. And the color change test thingy idea would work best with them. They do more of the hiding evolved than anything else." She glances back inside briefly. "Most of the time."

Kendall is quiet for a minute. "No. I have never been tortured, but I've seen it done. I'm also sure there's a lot of people in this group who haven't either." well, odds are there's a few, right? "The reason I most want to join is because I'm tired of Melissa coming home hurt. What happens if she never comes home at all? I'd be left alone again, just like when my parents disowned me and kicked me out because they found out I was Evolved when I got the flu. It's all well and good to say I'd be better off at home, oblivious, and safe, but… if I could do anything that would keep people from getting hurt, I want to do all I can to help." he shakes his head. "I'm not saying I want to be on the team of people who are fighting, or anything."

"I'm not saying you should be on the team of people who're fighting either." Peter offers quietly, tucking his hands into his pockets, taking on a more casual tone with Kendall than that of a brow-beating parent. "If something happened to Melissa…" Peter's voice trails off, and he looks up to the blonde, then back down to Kendall again. "Then I'd take care of you, or find you someone who could. My friend, Gillian, she takes care of people your age who have nobody else. She's a good person and even if you aren't Messiah, Kendall, I'd still look out for you because of what you mean to Melissa."

Sliding his tongue over the inside of his cheek, Peter looks towards the door to the triage center. "The Ferrymen are our allies," Peter offers quietly, "they proved that this week to me." When Peter's dark eyes make it back to Kendall, there's a slow nod of his head in affirmation of his point. "You won't ever be alone. You don't have to fight, either… but if you truly, honestly want to help make a difference? If you really can do what you say about the test kits? The Ferrymen would need you."

Kendall's concern has Melissa giving him a warm, concerned look. "I told you I'd made…" Blink, blink. She stares at Peter for a moment, her head tilting. It seems she's surprised enough to ignore the mention of Gillian. It takes a full minute before she looks back to Kendall. "There's Abby too. I know she'd help you out. And Ling. And Tony. And Daphne. You wouldn't be alone."

She smiles a little. "You should think about Peter's suggestion though, honey. The Ferrymen could use some good people. It may not be for me anymore, but they do good work. Hell, it's the Ferry that landed you a cushy room in our little house," she says with a trace of humor, though the smile doesn't yet reach her eyes.

Kendall sighs, just a little. "Well I suppose that would be best. And there's nothing to say I can't possibly join you guys when… I'm a little older?" the last bit is said just a tad bitterly. Man, he hates being a kid!

"Kendall," Peter says with a smile, lifting up one hand to rest it down on Kendall's shoulder, "hopefully when you're a little older, the world won't need a Messiah, it'll already be saved." Brown eyes alight to Melissa, and then back to the young teen as that hand pats Kendall's shoulder, then lifts away. "You really earned some respect from me, for taking this all in stride and listening. It makes me think you might be able to do a lot of good with the Ferry, helping people who need help. So far you're already a whole lot better at this than Magnes."

Sure, it's a bit of a bad-taste joke given that Magnes is recovering from serious injuries behind them, but a little humor injected at a tense moment can often mean a lot. "Why don't you head out front and see if Andy needs any help loading supplies on the truck? I need to talk to Melissa about something."

Grown up stuff.

That has Melissa grimacing faintly, but she's not one to run from a well-deserved yelling. Usually. Or maybe she's grimacing at the mention of loud-mouth. WHO KNOWS. "Yeah, go on Kendall. If you get done before I am, I'll meet you at home, alright? And go invisibly, will ya? You get caught by the government, and I am so not bailing you out again."

Kendall glances back towards where Magnes is. "He'll be all right now, won't he? I mean, provided Melissa doesn't kill him for that comment he made now that he's slightly better." at Melissa's request, and gradually returning to his usual 17 year old form, Kendall shrugs. "All right." he tells her, and pulls out a ring, slipping it on his finger. Then he seems to 'vanish', although if one doesn't believe he's not there, they'll still see him. It's the idea of 'You don't see me because I'm not here' vibes he gives off to peoples' minds, not true invisibility. And who knows, maybe he's not there anymore! But you can't know for sure…

"You're lucky he's a good kid," Peter explains in a quiet tone of voice, looking over his shoulder for Kendall, then furrows his brows and looks back to Melissa, "because this could've gone a lot worse. I'm not going to give you shit about him being here, if he wants in that's fine. I'm not happy about it, but it's your call, you're his family." There's no denying that on Peter's part at all.

"I didn't actually want to talk to you about that though…" Taking a few steps closer to Melissa, Peter offers out an arm to her, as if inviting to hook her arm in his and walk with her. "Let's go out back, I need to ask your advice on someone. You said you wanted more responsibilities in Messiah— you're about to get it."

"I don't want him in Messiah," Melissa admits. "That's why I brought him here. I figured if he saw everyone hurt, he'd rethink wanting to join up to…I don't know. Protect me," she says, shaking her head, but she does take his arm, even gives him a little smile, and walks with him. "But you're right. He is a good kid. He's handled everything with more grace and maturity than a lot of kids his age. Especially me coming home hurt."

She gives him a quick, curious look. "That's sort of what I said, yes. What is it that you have in mind? Is it something that will take some of the pressure off your shoulders so you can actually get some sleep every once in a while?" she asks dryly.

"Sort of…" Peter quietly explains as he walks thorugh the corridor, leaves crunching underfoot and Ferrymen operatives walking past. "Rupert talked to me about Messiah's direction following this successful attack. We're… going to do something big, something very public to follow this up, something to get everyone talking again." Offering an askance look to Melissa, Peter leads her out back of the nature center into an overgrown field surrounded by densely packed pine trees, their boughs shadowing the sky out of view.

Sliding his arm from hers, Peter walks away from Melissa and moves to sit on a bench overgrown with crawling ivy, crunching some of the leaves when he settles down to sit on it. "Rupert wants to target a company called Unite-Co. They're one of the companies that design and maintain the servers like the ones that the Registry of Evolved are maintained on. He wants to do what PARIAH did, and deliver a message to Companies who support the Registry that they aren't safe, that they won't be tolerated."

Looking down to his lap, something about this seems to be bothering Peter. "What do you think?"

When he moves away, Melissa lets her arm drop and she remains where she is, listening with a growing frown. It takes a minute for her to reply, and when she does, it's with a slow shake of her head. "I don't like it, Peter," she answers bluntly, though a beat later she's explaining in a soft, even gentle tone. "It depends on exactly what sort of message you're talking about, but in general, I don't like it."

She walks over to him, and sits down next to him, looking upward, as though searching for a sign of the sky through the trees. "Some of the companies that support the registry, yeah, they're bad people. Maybe not totally anti-evolved, but corrupt in some way. But just because a company supports the Registry doesn't mean that they're anti-evolved. It doesn't mean that the company needs destroyed or otherwise damaged beyond repair."

She looks back to Peter, her expression solemn. "We'd be attacking companies whose only crime is to support something their government has forced on them. We'd be attacking innocent people. All it would do is stir up more hatred for us as a group, and the evolved as a race, and that's not what we want, is it? We want to protect ourselves. To try to make it so we don't have to hide in fear. To get the same freedom that non-evolved have."

There's a faint, humorless smile. "Don't get me wrong, I haven't balked so far at doing what you've asked me to do. I saw the point in destroying the one factory that made the tracking guns. I was all for destroying the hospital and the monsters the Institute had created. Hell, I'm even for doing something to take out the registry server. But hitting any and all businesses that support registration? Peter, we could very well be attacking other evolved. There are some evolved who support it, for whatever reason. Are we going to take down our own kind not for what they've done, but for what they believe? Beliefs, without action, can't hurt us."

"That's what I was thinking too, but Rupert made a good case for it." Folding his hands together, Peter slouches forward and furrows his brows. "He thinks that if we make it unreasonable for companies to do business with anything connected to the Registry, that it will tie the government's hands and make life harder for them. I actually managed to talk him down from his original idea, which was wanting to target Registration centers with bombing attacks. There was no way I could keep the civillian casualties down on that, though, so…"

Frowning, visibly, Peter looks up to Melissa with a worried expression. "He wants to step up our efforts, and I agree with him. I just… I don't know what else we could target. The Institute is crouching down behind whatever covers they have right now and I wouldn't know where to look for them. It's just… it's a huge problem and I don't know how best to handle it. We need to keep our operatives busy or they'll start doing things on their own, like Ash."

Looking away from Melissa and down to the grassy ground underfoot, Peter seems a bit directionless. "Part of me was hoping you'd side with Rupert. It'd make this easier if I just thought I was the only one who had issues with that plan."

"He wanted to target Registration Centers?" Melissa asks, unable to keep the disgust from her voice. "Humanis First targets those. I should know. I nearly got blown up a couple months ago. Right before Montana. They killed children in that attack." She shakes her head. "Peter…I know you trust Rupert, and he may have some good ideas, but I'm not sure that he has the same end goal in mind that you do."

A hand is lifted and she settles it lightly on his shoulder, a reassuring gesture. "You're not the only one though, Peter. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who would agree with you. His logic on this one is flawed. It would do more harm than good. However, I do see what you mean about keeping busy."

She chews lightly on her lower lip, brow furrowing as she thinks. "Okay, if the Institute is hiding, for the moment, there's still the Company. I mean, they're the ones who locked us up in Moab. And for all we know, there's another Moab type prison out there somewhere. And if there is, I'm sure almost every member of Messiah would love to take it down, even if we can't make it disappear. Or there's dealing with Humanis First. I, for one, would love to see them not be a threat anymore. Hell, I'd still love to at least punch the guys who beat the shit out of me." Speaking of, she needs to talk to Risa about that one…

"There's always taking out the places that make the tests to check if we're evolved, though I imagine there's more of those than there were of the tracking gun. Or taking out the individuals who are the spearheads of the anti-evolved legislation. Shutting down anti-evolved publications. There are always targets, hon, we just need to pick the ones that can do the most good right now."

Silent for a good long while, Peter folds his hands together and lowers his head into a bobbing nod. "Alright…" he offers in quiet confidence, "I'll tell Rupert that the computer company angle is out of the question. What I think we can do is maybe try and arrange for some kind of… I don't know, something public, we'll figure it out. Maybe something like what was done to General Autumn and Secretary Hicks." It means more killing, but it also means keeping the pack of wild dogs that is Messiah under control. It makes Peter's position more like a kennel master than a leader.

"I… appreciate this," Peter admits reluctantly, looking up and over to Melissa. "You helping me out, being my conscience? I've been feeling more and more like I don't have one anymore. Like it's just… I don't know," and at that defeated sentiment, Peter looks away and down to his feet.

"It means a lot to me that you'd help," is reinforced by repetition, and Peter's tense posture shows that these admissions aren't easy.

Though Melissa has been trying, really, really hard, to distance herself a bit from Peter, those admissions have her softening towards him and wanting to comfort him with a hug. The latter doesn't happen though. "Peter…" she murmurs softly, hand lifting again, moving as though she'll stroke his hair, but it hesitates, just an inch from touching him.

"I know the feeling. It's why I'm pondering getting away for a weekend. To try to get my head on straight. And I know I don't have half the worries you do. So anything I can do to help, I will. If all you want," — or rather, will let her do — "is to talk, to get my opinion on things, I'm more than happy to help. I'm not sure there's much I wouldn't do to get that tired and haunted look out of your eyes," she admits quietly.

"There's nothing you can do," Peter admits as he slowly rises to stand from the bench, tiredly slouching away from her offer. "I've been like this on the inside sine Midtown, four years gone… I think I'm just finally showing it on the outside now." Brown eyes angle back to Melissa, and Peter offers her a faint, though honest, smile. "Make sure Kendall's okay, I'm going to go see if anyone else needs anything…"

Taking a step away from the bench, Peter looks down to the grass underfoot. "Thanks, for everything. Good luck with setting up a meeting with Eileen about Kendall. Hopefully it goes well." There's a distant tone to Peter's voice as he turns away from Melissa and starts to walk back into the nature center.

Eyes close for a moment and Melissa sighs softly. He is such a maddening man. Frustrating is simply too tame a word for Peter. But when her eyes open, there's something in her eyes. It's not quite sympathy, and more than just warmth. Silly girl wants to try to fix the real Midtown Man. Talk about lost causes!

She watches him start back inside as she slumps back against the bench, her brow furrowing. She doesn't respond to his thanks, or to his wishes of good luck regarding Kendall. And the only words she does say come out in a soft murmur that may well be lost in the distance between them.

"There is. If you'd just let me in."

That he keeps walking likely is his answer to that.


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